A chapter for CGD's White House and the World publication looking at US policies from trade through migration, investment and aid that could improve outcomes for women worldwide. Written with Sarah Dykstra.
For the first half of this week, I was at the seaside with my family.
On Tuesday, with the help of new friends from across the beach, we built a pyramid. It was as tall as my younger daughter, and surrounded by a complex of moats, watchtowers and crenellated walls that spread far over the sands. It set a paradigm for ocean-side construction with plastic tools, covering the waterfront of approaches from drip through carved to shell-dashed and bucket-molded. By Wednesday morning it was gone, of course. For all its scale, breadth and ambition, our project lacked anything solid enough to stand the tests of time and tide. My daughters, Ozymandiai before their years, had stuffed koalas from the boardwalk ring toss to console them. I had nothing but sunken dreams.
The holiday means I missed out on following the Addis Financing for Development conference. Coverage from my CGD colleagues Rajesh here and Owen here.
Correction: A.G. Benson corrected my Greek (I had Ozymndiae). Matthew Rose suggested Oxymandianish, which I hope to see on Pg. 1 of the WSJ before long.
The Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa in July represents one of President Obama’s last major opportunities to secure his development legacy. This catchily titled CGD policy brief co-authored with Beth Schwanke offers 14 proposals for commitments the United States Government should consider advancing for the Conference on Financing for Development. [Bets in advance on a hit rate of 0.5/14].
A CGD Policy Working Paper. The total scale of incremental investment requirements in infrastructure in developing countries has been estimated at around USD 1 trillion a year, with a range of related studies suggesting numbers between $815 billion to $1.3 trillion. While all such numbers are open to considerable debate, and were not designed to measure the cost of delivering the specific SDG infrastructure targets, they suggest the likely scale of the financing challenge for an SDG agenda which includes universal coverage to adequate housing, water, sanitation, modern energy and communications technologies. The complexity of infrastructure finance in developing countries suggests that external private investment will remain a minor player in the financing of infrastructure for development. Nonetheless, reforms of development finance institutions and multilateral development banks alongside infrastructure pricing in recipient countries could considerably increase financial flows, and the Addis Financing Conference later this year could help provide the authorizing environment for such reforms.
This CGD Policy Paper focuses on invented or created technologies of the type that could (theoretically) be subject to patents and the potential for international agreements including the Addis Financing Conference to better create and share such technologies. It discusses the nature of invented technologies and the standard policy tools used to support its development. It then addresses two separate questions related to inventions and development: ‘what is invented’ and ‘how it diffuses.’ With this background, it goes on to discuss the role of policy tools including patents, tiered pricing, research support, advance market commitments, and prizes in creating development-friendly technology. It concludes with some recommendations for language to be inserted in the Addis Declaration
By 2030 we may have managed to eradicate being poor by the average definition two or three decades ago of the poorest 15 countries with available statistics updated by more or less reliable inflation and purchasing power numbers since then.... That's what happens when you have to change the method of calculating extreme poverty because your boss said it could be eradicated. For @BW.
[That said, should note that means in the last few years I've suggested (a) it may be possible to end extreme poverty defined as $1.25/day, which would be good; (b) that it wouldn't be good enough (c) if the SDGs are going to have the goal of ending extreme poverty we should fix the goal posts and (d) fixing the goalposts means that 'extreme poverty' will be increasingly removed from any country's actual definition of poverty...]
A working paper with Justin Sandefur, Sarah Dykstra and Amanda Glassman. Since 2001, an aid consortium known as Gavi has accounted for over half of vaccination expenditure in the 75 eligible countries with an initial per capita GNI below $1,000. Regression discontinuity (RD) estimates show aid significantly displaced other immunization efforts and failed to increase vaccination rates for diseases covered by cheap, existing vaccines. For some newer and more expensive vaccines, i.e., Hib and rotavirus, we found large effects on vaccination and limited fungibility, though statistical significance is not robust. These RD estimates apply to middle-income countries near Gavi's eligibility threshold, and cannot rule out differential effects for the poorest countries. There's a policy brief that's an easier read.
This is a report of the CGD Working Group on Publish What You Buy. Government contracts regarding the use of public property and finances should be published by default. Many jurisdictions already require that contracts be made public in response to requests for the information; some now publish contracts proactively. Doing so helps new entrants compete in the market for public contracts, helps governments model their projects on other successful examples, and allows citizens greater insight into how their taxes are being spent. This brief, summarizing the conclusions of the Working Group on Government Contract Publication, provides a practical outline for reaping the benefits of open contracts while addressing legitimate concerns about costs, collusion, privacy, commercial secrecy, and national security. There is the full paper, a brief, and editorials in The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal.