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Towards the Argentine Presidency of the G20: What Macro-Financial Challenges Does the Region Face and What Are the Implications for the Debate?

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:30:43 +0000


After the slowdown of the Chinese economy and the sharp decrease in commodity prices, the Latin American macroeconomic outlook has worsened substantially in relation to the boom that occurred between 2003 and 2012, despite favorable external conditions characterized by significantly high liquidity in international capital markets and a strong economic recovery in developed nations.

Encouraging State Governments to Protect and Restore Forests Using Ecological Fiscal Transfers: India’s Tax Revenue Distribution Reform - Working Paper 473

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 22:47:40 +0000


India’s tax revenue distribution reform creates the world’s first ecological fiscal transfers (EFTs) for forest cover, and a potential model for other countries. In this paper we discuss the origin of India’s EFTs and their potential effects. In a simple preliminary analysis, we do not yet observe that the EFTs have increased forest cover across states, consistent with our hypothesis that one to two years of operation is too soon for the reform to have had an effect. This means there remains substantial scope for state governments to protect and restore forests as an investment in future state revenues.

Meeting the Sustainable Development Goal Zero Targets: What Could We Do? - Working Paper 472

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:30:51 +0000


The Sustainable Development Goals are an ambitious set of targets for global development progress by 2030 that were agreed by the United Nations in 2015. A review of the literature on meeting "zero targets" suggests very high costs compared to available resources, but also that in many cases there remains a considerable gap between financing known technical solutions and achieving the outcomes called for in the SDGs. In some cases, we (even) lack the technical solutions required to achieve the zero targets, suggesting the need for research and development of new approaches.

An Initial Estimation of the Size of Health Commodity Markets in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:14:53 +0000


This post previews preliminary answers to one initial question: what can we say about the size and nature of health commodity markets in low- and middle-income countries? We share early insights; list the data sources we used, while also signalling others we hope to draw on going forward; and highlight our assumptions and caveats.

What a New Survey of Aadhaar Users Can Tell Us About Digital Reforms: Initial Insights from Rajasthan

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 09:59:52 +0000


India’s Aadhaar biometric identification scheme has registered over 1.1 billion people, including almost all adults in the country and over 15 percent of the global population. Of course, initiatives of this scale cannot escape controversy. What the debate has so far lacked, however, is data. We set out to help fill that gap with a survey focused on a digital governance initiative in the state of Rajasthan.

Keynote Address by Canadian Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, at the Third Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:00:12 +0000


On December 7, 2017, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Government of Canada, gave a keynote address at the the third annual Birdsall House Conference on Women, "Reproductive Choices to Life Chances: The Links between Contraception and Women’s Economic Empowerment."

Family Planning and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Incentive Effects and Direct Effects among Malaysian Women - Working Paper 471

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 20:39:19 +0000


Although family planning programs can improve women’s welfare directly through changes in realized fertility, they may also have important incentive effects by increasing parents’ investments in girls not yet fertile. We study these potential incentive effects, finding that family planning may have raised raise girls’ educational attainment substantially. We also find that these early investments are linked to gains in women’s paid labor at prime working ages and to greater support for women’s elderly parents (a marker for women’s bargaining power within the household). Notably, these incentive effects may be larger than the direct effects of family planning alone.

Family Planning and Fertility Behavior: Evidence from Twentieth Century Malaysia - Working Paper 470

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 15:57:49 +0000


There is longstanding debate about the contribution of family planning programs to fertility decline. Studying the staggered introduction of family planning across Malaysia during the 1960s and 1970s, we find modest responses in fertility behavior. Overall, Malaysia’s total fertility rate declined by about one quarter birth under family planning, explaining only about 10 percent of the national fertility decline between 1960 and 1988. Our findings are consistent with growing evidence that global fertility decline is predominantly due to underlying changes in the demand for children.

The Need for a Bilateral Labor Agreement Between the US and Mexico, and the Responsibility for Leadership

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 14:17:33 +0000


From his keynote speech in Mexico City, Michael Clemens writes:

Mexico and the United States need a bilateral agreement to regulate the labor migration flows between these two neighboring countries. They have needed such an agreement my entire life.

Working Itself Out of a Job: USAID and Smart Strategic Transitions

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +0000


USAID has announced its intention to pursue “strategic transitions”—shifting select countries which have achieved an advanced level of development to a model of US engagement that relies less on traditional development assistance and more on other forms of cooperation. This paper seeks to inform USAID’s approach to strategic transitions.