If you really want to stimulate the economy, give out gift cards, or so says Virginia Postrel in the May edition of the Atlantic. And make sure to put a short deadline on it. Otherwise, consumers tend to be "hyperopic" - they put off enjoyment too long and let the card expire. Money quote:
Gearing up for the G20 summit on April 2, World Bank President Robert Zoellick made a speech this morning in London on the growth outlook for the developing world and what the G20 can do about it. Prospects look dim - newly released forecasts from the World Bank project growth of 2.1 percent in the developing world in 2009.
Dani Kaufmann, recently retired from the World Bank, keeps up his prodigious efforts at Brookings with a new article on Aid Effectiveness and Governance. How can donors reconcile poor governance in some countries with the pressing needs made that much worse by the financial crisis? Money quote:
First, America must remove trade barriers on exports from the poorest countries, regardless of trade policies in those countries. With global market access, poor countries would automatically attract private investment, despite their institutional weaknesses. These institutions would become stronger over time as businesses flourish. Private investments capitalizing on access to global markets would necessarily employ low-cost labor, thus creating jobs.
At least in Uruguay, a vote costs about US$2,000. This is according to a new paper that looks at the political economy of conditional cash transfer programs. In 2004 Uruguay implemented a conditional cash transfer program called PANES not unlike Mexico's well-known Progresa program. According to Government Transfers and Political Support:
The Center for Global Development just released its 2008 Commitment to Development Index, which ranks rich countries based on their "dedication to policies that benefit poor nations." The index has been around since 2003 but this was the first time I had seen it. I have to applaud the Center for looking well beyond aid flows - also included in the rankings are policies on trade openness, technology transfer, and investment.