Transforming Humanitarian Aid with Cash Transfers: High Level Panel Report

A High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers, which I chaired, has concluded that much more humanitarian aid should be provided as cash, rather than as vouchers or in-kind; and that this change should be used to bring about broader reforms of humanitarian aid. Read the full post »

Here’s a simple way to help refugees: give them cash

Rather than giving refugees food, shelter, water and medical care, it is often better to give them cash. Read the full post »

On World Humanitarian Day: Could We Do Better with Cash?

World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to celebrate the courage of humanitarian workers, but also to think about how to improve the system. I am chairing a High Level Panel looking at the role of cash transfers in humanitarian aid.

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An old wooden chest on a beach

Financing for development – where the treasure is buried

We won’t get development from global and domestic “tax and spend” alone. We should be focusing more on the huge untapped wealth locked up by policies and behaviour which distort the global economy, creating massive economic, environmental, and welfare losses for most of the world’s population. Read the full post »
The Ajaokuta steel factory in 1994

How should donors work with the private sector?

We are enthusiastic about the growing interest in supporting private investment in developing countries, but it matters a lot how this is done. The tools that donor countries usually use to “crowd in” the private sector — guarantees and cheap loans — distort firms’ incentives by reducing their risks or increasing their rewards irrespective of how well they do. Donors should not pick winners. Read the full post »
A picture of Thomas Piketty in front of a bookcase

Why are taxes on capital income lower than taxes on labour income?

If we want to raise the share of national income going to labour, we could start by not taxing labour income more heavily than capital income. Read the full post »
Owen Barder at a podium in front of a Standard Chartered sign

Development Impact Bonds: what do YOU think?

The Center for Global Development and our partner Social Finance has just published a big new report on Development Impact Bonds. The Working Group invites comments on the draft report over the next six weeks.

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Daron Acemoglu, Jim Robinson, Owen Barder

It’s the politics, stupid

One thing that the public knows, which many development experts apparently do not, is that poor countries are poor because they are badly governed and have institutions which prevent growth and permit a small elite to capture the nation's wealth. According to Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemoğlu and Jim Robinson, the public is (as usual) basically right. Read the full post »
A hand gun in front of a US flag

Guns & economics

Two interesting ideas from economists on gun control. First: require gun owners to take out liability insurance. Second, create a fund which for every dollar the NRA pays to a political candidate would pay $2 to the opponent. Read the full post »
European countries 3d illustration - european continent marked with flags

How committed is Europe to development really?

Europe’s approach to development could be characterized as energetically tackling the symptoms of poor economic opportunities for developing countries by providing substantial and effective aid, while doing relatively little to tackle the underlying structural causes of poverty. Read the full post »
A businessman in a suit takes a bribe in Euros

Follow the money: illicit financial flows

An explanation of why CGD in Europe is starting work on illicit financial flows. Read the full post »
om playing Korean Whack a Mole in Insadong Seoul Korea.

Follow the money: illicit financial flows

CGD in Europe is now embarking on an exciting new programme looking at how various kinds of illicit financial flows affect development and what, if anything, rich countries should be doing about them. Read the full post »
View of the Security Council chamber. This chamber, donated to the UN by Norway, was decorated by Arneberg, the mural is by Per Krogh. Besides the delegates, each council chamber accommodates 400 visitors and 120 press correspondents.

A new smart sanction which deserves to be tried

A disarmingly simple but effective way to put more pressure on illegitimate regimes: declare that any future contracts will not be enforceable against their successors. Read the full post »

Could donor proliferation lead to better aid?

Tim Harford had an interesting article in the FT in August arguing that we are better off in most walks of life if there is experimentation and a multiplicity of approaches.

But how do we value diversity in the aid … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Innovation and prizes

An interesting Economist article about the uses of prizes to promote innovation is a missed opportunity to explain the economic logic of prizes for innovations for developing countries. The reported comments by Tachi Yamada at the Gates Foundation about the value of market success do not seem to take account of the shortcomings of the system of patents and markets when it comes to developing drugs for diseases that mainly affect developing countries, nor to the problem of ensuring access in developing countries for new drugs.

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