Post-2015 Consensus
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Research papers from Post-2015 Consensus

Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Food Security and Nutrition Assessment, Rosegrant et al

The 2008 and 2011 food price spikes sparked concerns about whether the growing global population would be able to feed itself in years to come, and with this came a renewed increase in interest in the level of postharvest losses (PHL) and the potential to improve food security by reducing them. It has been estimated that an additional one billion people could be fed if food crop losses were halved, which could potentially relieve some of the pressure on the significant increase in production that would be required.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Food Security and Nutrition Perspective, Horton Hoddinott

Nutrition has always been a key development indicator. Inadequate nutrition is a major contributory factor for child mortality; good nutrition is important both for healthy growth and cognitive development. Cognitive development itself leads to educational success, and both are important determinants of labour productivity and hence economic growth. Balance is also important: there should be neither under- nor over-nutrition.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Food Security and Nutrition Perspective, Barrett

By 2050, there will be far more people to feed, increasingly distant from the rural areas where food is produced, and with the vast majority of the increased demand coming from Africa and Asia. In a world where currently up to 900 million people are chronically malnourished, reducing post-harvest losses could play a significant role in meeting the coming challenge.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Water and Sanitation Assessment, Hutton

On drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) specifically, a highly consultative process has been managed by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) since 2011, leading to a series of proposed WASH targets and indicators for the post-2015 period. These go beyond the MDG target on improved drinking water and basic sanitation: the targets also include hand washing, WASH outside the household, more advanced water and sanitation services, and accelerated coverage for poor and disadvantaged groups until the target year 2030. An interim target includes ending open defecation by the year 2025. This paper provides an evidence base with which to compare different WASH targets and world regions by benefit-cost ratio.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Water Resource Management Perspective, Whittington

Summary Both the UN Panel of Eminent Persons and the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals struggled with how to frame goals for the broader water resources management challenge. It is...

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Health Assessment, Jha et al.

A variety of priorities have been proposed for 2030 as “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” to replace the highly-influential 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG). These proposed goals cover a wide range of development objectives and include SDG3, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. Within this overarching health goal, many sub-goals have been proposed, some of which are realistic and others that are not.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Health Perspective - Non Communicable Diseases, Nugent

Summary The post-2015 target of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one-third by 2030 is ambitious, but can come close to being reached with increased coverage –...

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Health Perspective - Malaria, Raykar and Laxminarayan

Despite a 42% decrease in global malaria mortality since 2000, the disease was estimated to have caused 627,000 deaths worldwide in 2012. 90% of these deaths occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa and 77% were in children under five.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Health Perspective - Tuberculosis, Vassall

The economic case for investment in tuberculosis (TB) control is compelling; treatment is low cost and highly effective, and on average may give an individual in the middle of their productive life around 20 additional years of life, resulting in substantial economic and health return. But TB receives less than 4% of total development assistance for health.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Health Perspective, Fink

Eliminating all infant and child deaths is the ultimate long-term goal, but we need to look at more achievable targets for the relatively short period 2015-2030. The UN High Level Panel has suggested that this should be to aim for “… an upper threshold of 20 deaths per 1000 live births in all income quintiles of the population”. We argue that this target is not nearly ambitious enough for some middle income countries and rather unreasonable for some of the poorest country; instead of aiming for a uniform target, we argue that all countries should target a reduction of 70% in neonatal mortality between 2015 and 2030.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Health Perspective - HIV/AIDS, Geldsetzer et al

Thirty years after the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was first identified, the HIV epidemic continues to cause large-scale human suffering and economic losses. Since featuring prominently in the MDGs, HIV has received unprecedented global political and financial commitment, being allocated 25% of all international assistance for health in 2011.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Health Perspective, Luca et al.

There is robust evidence that improved population health helps boost incomes. We argue that female-specific health interventions are a sound investment and, in particular, that vaccinating against human papilloma virus (HPV) in developing countries would reduce the substantial burden of cervical cancer. Further, we propose that diminishing the lifetime risk of cervical cancer and HPV-related disease by 40% (representing nearly 3 million deaths) through increased HPV vaccination coverage in developing countries is a worthy goal for inclusion in the post-2015 global development agenda.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Governance and Institutions Assessment, Hilderbrand

Governance and institutions have been among the focal themes of planning for the post-2015 global agenda, to follow the soon-to-expire Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is also important to people more generally: in a global survey conducted by the UN (“The World We Want”) respondents named “an honest and responsive government” as third priority, just after a good education and better health care, and rated it as a higher priority than 13 others.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Governance and Institutions Perspective, Andrews

I start from a position of skepticism of the value of having post-2015 goals at all and even more of including governance in such a set. Global level statistics on the MDGs appear quite accurate and progress in some areas is used to support the argument for such global goals. However, there is great variation at the national level, with one study, for example, showing that about 50% of countries are on track to meet extreme poverty, gender, child mortality and water goals, but less than 30% are on track to meet hunger, maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS goals.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Governance and Institutions Perspective, Kraay

Hildebrand raises a number of concerns about possible SDGs in the area of governance, which can be summarised as: Governance is difficult to define, governance is difficult to measure, the effect of good governance on development outcomes is not well-documented and the effectiveness of aid-financed interventions to promote good governance are not clear.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Poverty Assessment, Gibson

How much does poverty cost? It is an easy question to ask but a surprisingly hard one to answer. Of the typical ways to measure poverty, only the poverty gap statistic – the average proportionate shortfall from the poverty line – can be interpreted in monetary terms. Assuming an all-knowing government making cost-free, perfectly targeted transfers to close poverty gaps, other researchers have calculated a global poverty gap of $82 billion at a $1.25 a day level of living. But this measure of the total cost of poverty ignores broader impacts on education, life expectancy etc.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Poverty Perspective, Kozel

The Copenhagen Consensus Center’s initiative to sponsor “hard-nosed” assessments of the economic costs and benefits of proposed goals and targets, along with the strengths and weaknesses of data and methodologies to monitor progress, is providing welcome contributions to ongoing discussions.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Poverty Perspective, Datt

This paper offers some reflections on the components of SDG1, dealing with poverty, noting first its huge scope. Ending poverty can justifiably be seen as an overarching aim of all development efforts, and hence one can hardly object to SDG1 as an aspirational goal for “the future we want”.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Air Pollution Assessment, Larsen

The last two decades have seen a large body of evidence of substantial health effects for long term exposure to air pollution – especially fine particulate matter – be it in the form of outdoor ambient air pollution (AAP) or household air pollution (HAP) from the use of solid fuels. There are compelling arguments that air pollution should feature in a new set of post-2015 development goals.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Air Pollution Perspective, Jeuland

The assessment paper provides an accessible entry into a problem of major global importance for both health and environmental sustainability.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Air Pollution Perspective, Holland

As realization has grown of the impact of air pollution, so too has it become clear that the effects of individual pollutants (particles, SO2, NOx, NH3 and volatile organics) are linked and that they should not be considered in isolation. Health has become the prime driver of air pollution policies in North America and Europe since the mid-1990s, following new analysis that found detectable effects at levels previously considered ‘safe’ and no evidence for an exposure threshold for fine particulates.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Infrastructure Assessment, Auriol Fanfalone

Expanding affordable access to ICT infrastructure has become a priority for policy makers, both in developing and developed countries, as ICTs are important enablers for social inclusion and economic development. They also have an impact on economic growth and have strategic spillover effects on other sectors by creating jobs and fostering innovation.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Infrastructure Perspective, Koutroumpis

Studies have shown that adoption of broadband is associated with faster economic growth via three broad categories of impact: ‘direct’ effects on employment and GDP during investment, ‘indirect’ effects associated with the telecom sector supply chain and ‘induced’ effects in the wider economy. But, in fact, there are a number of factors specific to each economy which, determine overall impact, with institutions and regulations in particular being key enablers to unlock the economic benefits.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Biodiversity Assessment, Markandya

The post 2015 agenda seeks to replace the MDGs with new goals that “move beyond meeting basic human needs and promote dynamic, inclusive and sustainable development”. There has been an active debate on what precisely these goals should be and what indicators should be used to track them. The Zero Draft of proposed goals and targets from the UN Open Working Group includes under Goal 14 ten targets focused on marine resources, while Goal 15 has 12 targets dealing with terrestrial natural resource issues.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Biodiversity Perspective, McVittie

This perspectives paper explores in greater depth part of the cost-benefit analysis undertaken by Markandya, particularly for Sustainable Development Goal 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all type of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and increase afforestation and reforestation by x% globally.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Biodiversity Perspective, Brander

This perspective paper makes a proposal for improved methodologies for conducting large scale assessments of the costs and benefits of meeting targets for biodiversity and ecosystem change. This is driven by the recognition that currently applied approaches, such as those used by Markandya in the challenge paper, do not produce sufficiently accurate information for use in cost-benefit analysis. For example, the enormous span of results for the wetland program implies that we cannot estimate even the order of magnitude of benefits.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Climate Change Assessment, Galiana

It has been argued that climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity and yet is not explicitly targeted in the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This sub-prioritization recognizes an implicit conflict between development, with the energy use (and emissions) it entails, and climate policy. Climate change mitigation in emerging and developing countries could be harmful from a development perspective if it slows economic growth by demanding the use of more costly, low-carbon energy sources.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Climate Change Perspective, Mendelsohn

The optimal solution to the greenhouse gas problem minimizes the sum of the climate damage and the cost of mitigation over the long run, but the current UN initiative is not even close to achieving this. There are three key insights which emerge. First, mitigation cost should be balanced against climate damage; second, as marginal damage increases with higher concentrations of greenhouse gases, so marginal cost should also rise; and third, the marginal cost of mitigation should be equated across all emitters.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Climate Change Perspective, Fischer

While concurring with some of the broad conclusions of the challenge paper, there is no scientific consensus that a limit of 450 ppm of CO2 does not pass a cost-benefit test; in fact, broad political consensus implies that limiting temperature rise to 2°C is cost effective. Neither are annual emissions caps inherently costly, depending on the policy measures used to achieve them.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Gender Equality Assessment, Clots-Figueras

Women in the developing world have the highest incidence of poverty, poor health, lack of education, unequal rights and violence. Some of the Millennium Development Goals were either directly targeted at women, or were targeted at reducing gender differences. However, although remarkable progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Gender Equality Perspective, Braunstein

In this paper I identify and discuss the assessment paper’s methodological problems and evidentiary gaps with the intent of improving its evaluative power. Methodologically, I use a gender-aware analysis to identify the challenges of conducting benefit cost analysis based on micro experimental evidence. I then argue the case for including macroeconomic perspetives and evidence, drawing from the research on gender equality and growth.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Gender Equality Perspective, Jacobsen

Clots-Figueras addresses all of the relevant Post-2015 goals and reports on the most recent relevant experimental results having to do with explicit benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) for this gender-related research. However, the evidence base is restricted to experimental papers. This perspective paper suggests different views regarding how to measure and assess evidence regarding BCRs. This includes addressing the question of what elements are preconditions and what events are actually more likely to occur if economic situations for women are improved.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Population and Demography Assessment, Kohler Behrman

Prioritizing the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda on Population and Demography requires recognition that national demographic trajectories are currently more diverse than in the middle and late 20th century. Wealthy countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas face rapid population aging, while Africa and some countries in Asia prepare for the largest cohort of young people the world has ever seen.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Population and Demography Perspective, Canning

The challenge paper covers a wide range of issues and there is a lack of detail in some of the arguments. We have to think of priorities across as well as within issues, and this paper puts forward five thematic priorities.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Population and Demography Perspective, Galor Casey

In all facets of life, people must make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources. Potential parents must decide how many children to have and how much to invest in the future of each child. This decision is known as the ‘quantity-quality’ tradeoff.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Trade Assessment, Anderson

Lowering trade barriers would contribute to four likely key goals of the United Nations’ Post-2015 development agenda: poverty alleviation, ending hunger, reducing inequality and strengthening global partnerships for sustainable development. While trade barriers have been reduced considerably in recent years, many remain.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Trade Perspective, Low

Overall, Anderson’s paper provides an excellent and comprehensive analytical review of contemporary trade policy issues in manufacturing and agriculture, and of the case for policy reform. However, it pays limited attention to services, when it is becoming increasingly apparent that their contribution to the economy has been underestimated for a long time.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Trade Perspective, Hoekman

Hoekman points out that global trade has grown strongly since 1990 and has been accompanied by rising real incomes. However, although average incomes in the East Asia and Pacific region have risen more than 1500% since 1960, the rise has been just 30% in sub-Saharan Africa. Economic policies that increased the costs of trade have been an important factor in this disappointing performance.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Energy Assessment, Galiana Sopinka

The global energy system is undergoing a rapid and significant transformation from both demand and supply perspectives. The former is due in large part to emerging economies’ growth and rapid urbanization, both of which are extremely energy intensive. The latter is due primarily to the ‘shale gas revolution’, the events at Fukushima and the push for renewables.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Energy Perspective, Moss Gleave

The invigorated focus on energy on the development agenda is a positive step reflecting what governments, business leaders, and citizens across the developing world agree: increasing access to energy is a top priority and central to solving other challenges in health, education, and job creation. The first set of MDGs acknowledged energy’s role, but left access as an implicit step required to meet other targets.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Energy Perspective, Morris

This perspective paper reviews the targets and their priorities and proposes a seventh, policy-based target. Morris believes that the challenge paper convincingly explains how access to modern energy resources is critical for economic development and improving the welfare of poor households. Few doubt the merits of expanding modern energy access in principle, but there remain questions as to where the benefits are highest and what policies may best be used.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Data for Development Assessment, Jerven

The UN High Level Panel has called for a data revolution. The world's population should be counted, measured, weighed and evaluated. This information should be collected, compiled, aggregated, and presented in such a form that it can usefully inform policy makers and citizens in aggregated forms, and disaggregated according to region, village, gender and population group.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Data for Development Perspective, Johnston

There is clearly an existing problem with development data provision. For example, even population figures may be uncertain because of under-counting of some groups in society, and changes to the statistical basis of GDP estimates can make large differences; Ghana became a middle-income country overnight when its estimated GDP doubled in this way.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Data for Development Perspective, Demombynes Sandefur

This paper takes a look at three questions relating to the provision of more data via surveys. First, we ask whether surveys in poor countries have produced results, second, what types of users demand what types of data and third, how much it would cost to close the remaining gaps in household survey provision.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Science and Technology Assessment, Maskus

The UN Open Working Group has considered a number of science and technology initiatives in its deliberations. It generally sees technology as a component of the objective “to strengthen and enhance means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development”. Effective implementation of technical knowledge is fundamentally important to drive economic growth through structural change and productivity gains as well as contributing to broader public needs.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Science and Technology Perspective, Smith

The technology transfer goals under consideration by the UN Open Working Group include general and technology-specific targets, as well as goals that are foundational to technology transfers that occur through trade and foreign direct investment. The ultimate goal of these targets is to promote sustainable economic development.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Science and Technology Perspective, Saggi

Saggi finds that the Maskus paper provides a clear and convincing analysis of his chosen policy initiatives and there is little he disagrees with. Productivity is perhaps the most important determinant of a country’s living standards in the long run. It can either continue producing the same with fewer resources or invest in R&D that delivers new or better products.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Conflict and Violence Assessment, Hoeffler Fearon

There is an ongoing debate on what brought about the reduction in violence over the past three decades in high income countries but the phenomenon cannot be reduced to the application of a few...

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Conflict and Violence Perspective, Soares

Because of the difficulties involved, I sympathise with Fearon and Hoeffler’s general approach of trying to highlight certain relevant costs rather than coming up with specific cost-benefit ratios. However, I think the discussion would benefit from a slightly different perspective, taking a further step back to define specific issues of paramount importance together with promising interventions, since any attempt to paint a broad picture inevitably becomes somewhat fragmented and superficial. Considering which issues could deliver potentially the highest benefits and be tackled by fairly standardised interventions, I believe the focus should be on common crime and violence.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Conflict and Violence Perspective, Blomberg

My purpose in this perspective paper is to estimate benefit-cost ratios for the various targets proposed by Fearon and Hoeffler. I estimate most of the targets to be in the FAIR to GOOD range. The authors have done a remarkable job in cataloguing various forms of violence, their costs and benefits of existing programs. However, one notable weakness is the inability to provide systematic BCRs.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: IFF Assessment, Cobham

The initial formulation of a target to address illicit financial flows as part of the Post-2015 Development Agenda was by means of a monetary sum, but the Open Working Group’s current proposals now...

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: IFF Perspective, Cardamone Kar

GFI agrees with Cobham that the original targets proposed by the High Level Panel were undermined by framing them in dollars rather than percentage terms, that illicit flows are substantially larger than Overseas Development Aid and that they adversely affect economic growth, development outcomes, inequality and governance.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: IFF Perspective, Reuter

The issue of illicit financial flows came to prominence as a public policy issue with the publication of Raymond Baker’s Capitalism’s Achilles Heel in 2005, but it is striking that today we know little more about the issue. Moreover, all the current estimates of such flows are based on those of Global Financial Integrity, set up by Baker after his book was published, and use a single methodology.

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Assessment Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Education Assessment, Psacharopoulos

Unsurprisingly, the MDG targets that are not likely to be achieved by 2015 are repeated with 2030 as a new target date. Today, there are currently 60 million children out of school, most of them in...

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Education Perspective, Orazem

52% of all primary-aged children who are not attending school are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, 61% of the children expected to receive no primary schooling during their lifetimes reside in that region. If we are to meet the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education for all, the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa represent the greatest challenge.

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Perspective Paper

Post-2015 Consensus: Education Perspective, Krafft Glewwe

Overall, we generally agree with Psacharopoulos on the value of improving school quality, and we share his skepticism of vocational and technical education. Yet we would also argue that the evidence for expanding pre-primary and primary education in Sub-Saharan Africa is not as strong as he claims.

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Policy Advice

Preliminary Benefit-Cost Assessment of Final OWG Targets

This report assesses the targets in the OWG’s Final Outcome Document from 19 July 2014. This builds upon the information presented in similar documents which the Copenhagen Consensus Center released...

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Working Paper

Évaluation préliminaire des coûts-bénéfices pour les objectifs de la 12e session du GTO

Dans un monde limité en ressources, nous ne pouvons pas tout réaliser. De fait, quels objectifs devrons-nous prioriser ? Le Copenhagen Consensus Center présente des informations sur les cibles qui...

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Policy Advice

Preliminary Benefit-Cost Assessment for 12th Session OWG Goals

The Copenhagen Consensus has updated our benefit-cost assessment of UN Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals for the 12th session of the Open Working Group. The Copenhagen Consensus will present...

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Policy Advice

Preliminary Benefit-Cost Assessment for 11th Session OWG Goals

Some of the world’s top economists have assessed the targets from the 11th session Open Working Group document into one of five categories, based on economic evidence: Phenomenal, Good, Fair, Poor and Uncertain.

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