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The Survey’s lead author is Arvind Subramanian, chief economic adviser to the government of India and a CGD senior fellow on leave. Subramanian spoke at a recent CGD event on the big ideas currently shaping India’s economy, and he joined me on the podcast to continue the discussion.
One of the big benefits of a UBI, he tells me on the podcast, is that it provides people with a “minimum wherewithal” they can use to access credit, invest, or respond to emergencies. The main challenge, on the other hand, is that the money obviously has to come from somewhere: “you can’t pay for it unless you get rid of something else.”
Last week, CGD co-hosted an event with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) with a simple premise that contradicts much conventional wisdom: refugees are not a burden, but a development asset. That premise compels the question: what policies, financing, and partnerships are needed to realize the promise of mutual benefit?
In 2013, a CGD working group signaled important benefits of development impact bonds, and worked through some of the “how-to” of design and implementation. Yet five years later, only three development impact bonds have launched. Why is this the case? Why is it so hard to get DIBs off the ground? What can we learn from the structuring and financing of DIBs to date to ease the way for future efforts?
We need to stop talking about refugees as if they are burden to be shared. Refugees benefit both economy and the community—and if we invested more and better in giving them a good start, they would be able to make an even bigger contribution. Here we suggest innovative finance mechanisms to pay for that investment without putting pressure on public finances, instead enabling refugees to develop and apply their skills, integrate effectively, and improve their overall contribution.