Charles Cadwell

A lawyer with 30 years' work experience in economic reform, deregulation, research oversight, and non-profit leadership in the US and in developing countries, Cadwell joined the Urban Institute (UI) in May 2007. His work targets governance reform, aid effectiveness, and integrating research and policy reform. From 1990-2006 Mr. Cadwell was Director of the IRIS Center in the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland, College Park. IRIS conducted research on economic development and reform in developing countries and worked with reform leaders in more than 70 countries to understand and improve governance and economic policies. Mr. Cadwell worked with IRIS founder, Professor Mancur Olson, to launch and build the IRIS center. Following Olson's death in 1998, the University made Mr. Cadwell Principal Investigator at the IRIS Center. Throughout his career Mr. Cadwell has assembled teams of economists, lawyers, and others to advance the understanding of how institutions of property rights and contract enforcement contribute to economic growth, and the nature of the incentives of various forms of government to produce these and other market-augmenting public goods. He has overseen teams working in dozens of countries to develop the research capability of local institutions, analyze policy options, and advance specific reforms. Mr. Cadwell's work has included assistance in the development of civil codes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and regulatory simplification, decentralization, and local government reform in places such as Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Romania, and Russia. In Bangladesh he worked on reforms in both the district courts and the Supreme Court that increased accountability and transparency of judicial actions. For the European Commission he developed benchmarks of commercial legal reform in six Arab states with which the EU has trade agreements. At IRIS he launched the IRIS Index research program on institutions and growth. Cadwell is a graduate of Yale College (1973) and the National Law Center at The George Washington University (1977). He has worked in the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, the Office of Advocacy at the US Small Business Administration and in private law practice.

The continued decline of North Korea demonstrates why Inclusive Politics must be part of the next round of Millennium Development Goals

By Charles Cadwell  ::  May 20th, 2013

    There’s been a lot of talk about North Korea in the news cycle of late, but little of it relates to the most prominent humanitarian crises occurring within its borders. In 2000, all 193 U.N. member states, including North Korea, agreed to meet eight human development goals by 2015, including: Eradicating extreme poverty […]

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Serbia-Kosovo Agree to Normalize Relations, Now to “Normalize” Society

By Charles Cadwell  ::  April 22nd, 2013

    The prime ministers of Kosovo and of Serbia initialed an agreement Friday to normalize relations between their two countries. This accomplishment—at the last hour and under the careful and forceful leadership of the EU’s Catherine Ashton—does not, by itself, reconcile the long-standing enmity between neighbors in Kosovo, a territory now recognized by 90 […]

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International Women's Day: Flowers or Powers?

By Charles Cadwell  ::  March 12th, 2013

A women’s caucus in Kosovo, organizing data and government action around women’s needs and issues. Photo by Urban Institute staff. Last week’s celebration of International Women’s Day produced the usual should-be-embarrassing photos of a Russian leader surrounded by uncomfortable looking women holding bundles of flowers. In the Washington Post’s coverage, it is hard to tell […]

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What Will "Our Turn to Eat" Mean the Day After the Kenyan Elections?

By Charles Cadwell  ::  March 4th, 2013

All eyes are on Kenya today as some 14 million citizens are expected to vote for an array of candidates for president and other offices. The world hopes to avoid a repeat of the post-election violence in late 2007 and early 2008 that killed some 1,500 people and created as many as 600,000 refugees, a […]

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United in Distrust of Government

By Charles Cadwell  ::  October 28th, 2011

Americans suffer “deep distrust” of government according to last week’s New York Times/CBS News poll results.  Fully 89 percent don’t trust government to do the right thing, and 74% think the country is on the wrong track. Three quarters of us don’t think Congress will do anything about our high unemployment rate either.  For the […]

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Intolerance and Local Government?

By Charles Cadwell  ::  September 27th, 2011

New conflict between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo last week was restrained by international troops. The new government of the largely Albanian (Muslim) country was trying to put its own customs agents at border crossings with Serbia, located in the  northern Kosovo region still populated mainly by Serbs (non-Muslim) and never under the new regime’s […]

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Urbanization's Infrastructure Demands at Home and Abroad

By Charles Cadwell  ::  June 21st, 2011

Jakarta: Eleven time zones’ distance gives a different perspective on America’s infrastructure needs. Doubtless, aging American urban areas and demographic changes greatly challenge policymakers looking down the road: In the current political environment can support be mustered to invest in roads, water and sanitation, solid waste, environment and public facilities? Do sharp differences among America’s […]

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Improving local governance in Egypt

By Charles Cadwell  ::  March 21st, 2011

Free and fair elections in Egypt, when they are held, will help legitimate a new regime. But elections alone won’t reform huge ossified ministries that pervade every corner of Egyptian life. While old Ministers are gone, the generals now in charge aren’t necessarily prepared to start reforming bureaucratic life.  The regime of state-owned and state-connected […]

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