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Analysis

USA/Iraq – What will US combat forces withdrawal mean for Iraq? (Brookings)

Ranj Alaaldin and Adrianna Pita write: The White House meeting between President Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was primarily framed around the future of U.S. military forces in Iraq, but in addition to the destabilizing threats of ISIS and Iran-aligned militias, Iraq is also struggling with a deep economic crisis and need for significant political reforms. Ranj Alaaldin details Kadhimi’s efforts to address Iraq’s interconnected crises and how the U.S. is still critical to Iraq’s future.

go to Brookings: What will US combat forces withdrawal mean for Iraq? (brookings.edu)

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USA/FTC/TechInnovation – Outdated ethics rules may be stymieing the Federal Trade Commission’s efforts to keep up with big tech (Brookings)

Lindsey BarrettLaura MoyPaul Ohm, and Ashkan Soltani write: How does a hundred-year-old agency shift its resources and focus to grapple effectively with Big Tech and some of the biggest policy puzzles of a generation? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has faced this challenge since the dotcom era. As it still scrambles to adjust, the FTC has received harsh criticism in recent years for its approvals of ballooning tech mergers and its seeming inability to deter or avert privacy scandal after privacy scandal. At the same time, popular interest in reining in Big Tech and protecting privacy has mounted. Perched at the intersection of these two issues is a wonky but fundamental problem for the agency: Do the FTC’s longstanding conflict-of-interest rules unnecessarily impede the agency’s ability to attract, retain, and deploy technical expertise that it badly needs?

go to Brookings: Outdated ethics rules may be stymieing the Federal Trade Commission’s efforts to keep up with big tech (brookings.edu)

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USA – COVID-19 is crushing red states. Why isn’t Trump turning his rallies into mass vaccination sites? (Brookings)

Elaine Kamarck writes: Politicians almost always act in their own electoral interest. This sounds bad except that much of the time that means that they are acting in the self-interest of the people who voted for them, representing the views of the majority of their constituents. It is rare that a politician acts against his own self-interest—but then again, Donald Trump is a rare breed of politician. No politician has made it a habit of acting against his own electoral interest like Donald Trump.

go to Brookings: COVID-19 is crushing red states. Why isn’t Trump turning his rallies into mass vaccination sites? (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Washington Consensus Reforms/Sub Saharan Africa – Washington Consensus Reforms and Lessons for Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa (American Economic Association, Brookings)

Belinda Archibong, Brahima Coulibaly, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala write: Over three decades after market-oriented structural reforms termed “Washington Consensus” policies were first implemented, we revisit the evidence on policy adoption and the effects of these policies on socio-economic performance in sub-Saharan African countries. We focus on three key ubiquitous reform policies around privatization, fiscal discipline, and trade openness and document significant improvements in economic performance for reformers over the past two decades. Following initial declines in per capita economic growth over the 1980s and 1990s, reform adopters experienced notable increases in per capita real GDP growth in the post–2000 period. We complement aggregate analysis with four country case studies that highlight important lessons for effective reform. Notably, the ability to implement pro-poor policies alongside market-oriented reforms played a central role in successful policy performance

go to American Economic Association: Washington Consensus Reforms and Lessons for Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa – American Economic Association (aeaweb.org)

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Analysis

USA – Lessons from the Surfside condo collapse on strengthening community ownership (Brookings)

Tracy Hadden Loh writes: The June collapse of the Champlain Towers South multifamily condominium tower in Surfside, Fla. has called into question whether bad governance played a role in the tower’s failure. Was maintenance on the building deferred because the condo board, elected by the unit owners, had a short-term incentive to do so in order to retain power? Or are communities of individual owners, who are not real estate professionals, simply incapable of managing a complex asset like a high-rise building? Are American condominiums a 20th century experiment that have now reached a dangerous reaction point in the lab?

go to Brookings: Lessons from the Surfside condo collapse on strengthening community ownership (brookings.edu)

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Kenya – Unlocking constraints to industries without smokestacks to catalyze job creation for youth in Kenya (Brookings)

Adan ShibiaEldah Onsomu, and Boaz Munga write: Unlike in much of the developed world, the promise of manufacturing to spur economic growth and jobs in Africa has remained elusive, with most of the continent’s economies facing deindustrialization. This trend is characterized by declining share of manufacturing in gross domestic product (GDP) and wage employment. All is, however, not lost considering emerging structural shifts, with services and other non-manufacturing industries promising economic transformations. These promising nonmanufacturing industries, termed “industries without smokestacks” (IWOSS), demonstrate key features of manufacturing such as high productivity, agglomeration, and job opportunities. The IWOSS sectors are diverse, cutting across financial services, horticulture, information and communication technology (ICT), tourism, transit trade, and wholesale trade. As part of a broader research project, the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative partnered with the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) to assess which of these IWOSS might be best poised to unlock jobs in Kenya.

go to Brookings: Unlocking constraints to industries without smokestacks to catalyze job creation for youth in Kenya (brookings.edu)

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Global Education – How teacher expectations empower student learning (Brookings)

Niharika Gupta and Sameer Sampat write: In primary school, we were both lucky to have teachers who thought we were brilliant: Ms. Darrow believed Sameer was an excellent student despite average grades, and Ms. Lewis made Niharika feel like she could survive anything. Looking back, neither of us knows why they thought this way, but we’re certain that they both truly felt this way, and their feelings made us believe it as well. Our time with these teachers made us believe in our ability to take on academic challenges, building a base of confidence that we would draw on throughout our lives.

go to Brookings: How teacher expectations empower student learning (brookings.edu)

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USA – ‘40 acres and a mall’: How community ownership models can preserve economic power in Black neighborhoods (Brookings)

Anthony BarrTracy Hadden LohAndre M. Perry, and Hanna Love write: In the famous post-Civil War initiative known as “40 acres and a mule,” Union General William T. Sherman promised newly freed Black households the one thing most necessary for sustaining their freedom: land. As Black minister Garrison Frazier told Sherman, freedom means having the ability to “reap the fruit of our own labor.” Unfortunately, Sherman’s promise never came to fruition, as President Andrew Johnson overturned the decision. Over a century and a half later, the unfulfilled promise of land ownership remains just as essential for the descendants of survivors of American slavery who desire economic power for themselves and their communities.

go to Brookings: ‘40 acres and a mall’: How community ownership models can preserve economic power in Black neighborhoods (brookings.edu)

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Analysis

Sustainable Development/SDGs – Donor engagement with Agenda 2030: How government agencies encompass the Sustainable Development Goals (Brookings)

George Ingram and Helena Hlavaty write: In 2015, all members of the United Nations adopted an ambitious agenda known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals. The agenda consists of 17 development goals to be achieved by 2030. This report examines how government donor agencies encompass SDGs in international development cooperation, covering 20 of the 30 members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). It reviews how they propose to incorporate the SDGs at the level of strategy and policy, programs, and reporting of outputs and results. Eighteen of the 20 members (excepting the United States and the European Union) have produced at least one Voluntary National Review (VNR). Although principally aimed at reporting on national progress on the SDGs, some VNRs cover international development cooperation and so are specifically noted. This review is based on how each country presents its engagement with the SDGs and does not assess the extent to which those policies and plans are translated into practice.

go to Brookings: Donor engagement with Agenda 2030: How government agencies encompass the Sustainable Development Goals (brookings.edu)

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