With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Christopher Bancroft Burnham, Chairman, Cambridge Global Capital
Bathsheba Crocker, Vice President, Humanitarian Programs & Policy, CARE
Sarah Rose, Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development
Brett Schaefer, Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs, Heritage Foundation
Jessica TriskoDarden, Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Scott Morris, Senior Fellow and Director of the US Development Policy Initiative, Center for Global Development
When it comes to foreign aid, the United States is the largest bilateral donor in the world. Some of this aid goes to countries that are out of step with the United States on select policy issues. One clear demonstration of this is the significant amount of aid given to countries who frequently vote in opposition to the US position at the United Nations. Over the years, various US officials have decried this relationship and called for a closer link between US foreign aid and countries’ UN voting record. The Trump administration has recently raised the profile of this viewpoint, emphasizing its desire for US aid to support US interests—including at the United Nations.
US foreign assistance has always been a tool of foreign policy and has been used to influence UN votes for decades. But there are a range of opinions around the degree to which aid should be tied to UN votes, the implications of such a policy, and—more broadly—how US self-interest should be defined. Please join us for a lively discussion of viewpoints on these and other questions around the administration’s proposal to forge a closer connection between aid flows and UN votes.
The terminology describing economic programs for women has changed: actions to ‘empower women economically’ have replaced efforts to ‘increase women’s productivity and incomes.’ But how can we actually measure ‘economic empowerment’? Last November, CGD, in collaboration with Data2X, IDRC and the World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab organized a panel discussion on possible measures and issues, drawing on evidence from the ExxonMobil Foundation-funded report Women’s Economic Empowerment: A Roadmap and its update, “Revisiting What Works.” Read the overview here. Since then, new research has been conducted which raises alternative perspectives on these measures.
Webcast of former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers' keynote at the Center for Global Development’s annual Global Development Changemaker Dinner. Summers’ speech, which coincides with President Trump’s first visit to China, will address the changing power dynamics among key global leaders and will discuss rethinking global development for the 21st Century.
The IMF Fiscal Affairs Department is launching a new book entitled Digital Revolutions in Public Finance. Offering the first detailed assessment of the impact of digital technology on fiscal policy, this publication is a landmark of a collaboration between the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It includes contributions from academics, former government officials and technologists, providing perspectives on how digitalization can revolutionize the design and implementation of fiscal policy—and on the risks and challenges that need to be faced.
The Center for Global Development—with Results for Development—is pleased to host this year's Philip A. Musgrove Memorial Lecture, to be delivered by Ricardo Bitran. Philip A. Musgrove worked on a broad set of topics in health economics and policy in developing countries. In each, he made major contributions thanks to his keenly analytical mind and implacable logic, along with his dry sense of humor. Setting priorities in health was among Philip’s preferred subjects. While at the World Bank he worked on the World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health. A main and controversial prescription from the Report was that low- and middle-income countries could tackle a substantive part of their burden of disease by delivering a health benefits package of prioritized, cost-effective interventions.
In many countries, it is difficult to raise taxes and therefore difficult to increase spending on health care. Nevertheless, many of the factors that determine population health—and how it is distributed among citizens—do not involve spending more on healthcare services, per se. Rather, the burden of many non-communicable diseases and external injuries can be influenced by creative reform of taxes and subsidies. Taxing tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages can reduce consumption of products which contribute to cardiovascular disease, traffic accidents, and diabetes. Subsidies for condoms, vaccines, and TB diagnostics can reduce the prevalence of many important infectious diseases. Ramanan Laxminarayan, Director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, will present findings from his research with Ian Parry at the International Monetary Fund on the potential for health gains from taxes and subsidies. This lunchtime talk will be moderated by William Savedoff, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development.
Transactional sex (sex for money) is a common risk-coping behavior in sub-Saharan Africa and is believed to be a leading driver of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In her upcoming paper, Kelly Jones and her coauthors examine whether access to precautionary savings can mitigate the use of transactional sex as a response to negative shocks. In a field experiment in Kenya, half of the over 600 vulnerable women participants were randomly assigned a savings intervention that consists of opening a mobile banking savings account labeled for emergency expenses and individual goals. They find that the intervention led to an increase in total mobile savings, reductions in transactional sex as a risk-coping response to shocks, and a decrease in symptoms of sexually transmitted infections.
As the evidence of mobile money’s ability to improve financial access continues to grow, some in the development community are exploring whether a new wave of digital innovation, including digital currencies and blockchain technology, can play a similar role. To date, however, only a small number of start-ups using these technologies have been able to develop profitable business models, while others have struggled to overcome some of the same hurdles faced by more traditional financial actors. For this reason, some are skeptical that these new technologies will significantly improve financial inclusion. This event, which is co-hosted by the Center for Global Development and World Bank’s Blockchain Lab, will bring together policy experts working on the forefront of financial inclusion and technology, along with the CEO of BitPesa, a company that uses blockchain technology to facilitate payments between Africa and the rest of the world. The panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing start-ups seeking to use blockchain technology to expand financial access in emerging and frontier markets. CGD Policy Fellow Michael Pisa will moderate the discussion.
In recent years, there has been tremendous progress in improving the treatment and prevention of diseases, resulting in millions of lives saved around the world. While some of this progress is due to economic growth, aid from several bilateral, multilateral, and philanthropic donors has made important contributions to reducing the global burden of disease. In this seminar, Alec Morton will present new research focusing on decision rules to guide how donors should allocate aid money given that resources are limited.