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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.
Health financing and payment, results-based financing, social protection, conditional cash transfer programs, noncommunicable disease, maternal and child health
Amanda Glassman is chief operating officer and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and also serves as secretary of the board. Her research focuses on priority-setting, resource allocation and value for money in global health, as well as data for development. Prior to her current position, she served as director for global health policy at the Center from 2010 to 2016, and has more than 25 years of experience working on health and social protection policy and programs in Latin America and elsewhere in the developing world.
Prior to joining CGD, Glassman was principal technical lead for health at the Inter-American Development Bank, where she led policy dialogue with member countries, designed the results-based grant program Salud Mesoamerica 2015 and served as team leader for conditional cash transfer programs such as Mexico’s Oportunidades and Colombia’s Familias en Accion. From 2005-2007, Glassman was deputy director of the Global Health Financing Initiative at Brookings and carried out policy research on aid effectiveness and domestic financing issues in the health sector in low-income countries. Before joining the Brookings Institution, Glassman designed, supervised and evaluated health and social protection loans at the Inter-American Development Bank and worked as a Population Reference Bureau Fellow at the US Agency for International Development. Glassman holds a MSc from the Harvard School of Public Health and a BA from Brown University, has published on a wide range of health and social protection finance and policy topics, and is editor and coauthor of the books Millions Saved: New Cases of Proven Success in Global Health (Center for Global Development 2016), From Few to Many: A Decade of Health Insurance Expansion in Colombia (IDB and Brookings 2010), and The Health of Women in Latin America and the Caribbean (World Bank 2001).
The Birdsall House Conference Series on Women seeks to identify and bring attention to leading research and scholarly findings on women’s empowerment in the fields of development economics, behavioral economics, and political economy. On December 7th, academics, private sector representatives, and policymakers will turn to an issue that affects women in rich and poor countries alike: the ability to make informed, voluntary, and autonomous choices about childbearing, and the implications of reproductive choice as a lever to expand women’s economic and life prospects. Until recently, there has been a lack of rigorous empirical evidence on the links between contraceptive access and women’s economic empowerment in low- and middle-income countries. The 2017 Birdsall House Conference will feature new findings on this relationship alongside existing evidence from the United States.
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.
OPIC recently announced it will invest $2 million in a Development Impact Bond (DIB) aimed at improving the availability and quality of cataract surgery services in Cameroon. Specifically, OPIC’s investment will support the Magrabi ICO-Cameroon Eye Institute, a new hospital with an efficiency and financing model based on the acclaimed Aravind Eye Hospitals, over several years. The OPIC news is particularly exciting for four reasons.
Vaccinate children against measles and mumps or pay for the costs of dialysis treatment for kidney disease patients? Pay for cardiac patients to undergo lifesaving surgery, or channel money toward efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease in the first place? For universal health care (UHC) to become a reality, policymakers looking to make their money go as far as possible must make tough life-or-death choices like these.
Many low- and middle-income countries aspire to universal health coverage (UHC), but for rhetoric to become reality, the health services offered must be consistent with the funds available, which may require tough tradeoffs. An explicit health benefits package—a defined list of services that are and are not subsidized—is essential in creating a sustainable UHC system.
A new contribution from the Center for Global Development and the International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI)—What’s In, What’s Out: Designing Benefits for Universal Health Coverage, edited by Amanda Glassman, Ursula Giedion and Peter Smith—argues that an explicit health benefits package (HBP), to be funded with public monies, is an essential element of a sustainable and effective health system, and considers the institutional, fiscal, methodological, legal, and ethical dimensions of their design and implementation. This event—a private policy breakfast and release of the book—aims to gather leading voices for universal health coverage, effective health financing, and evidence-based health policy to discuss and debate the book’s key findings and messages. Hard copies of the book will be available for all attendees.
Mental illnesses are among the top causes of disability and disease in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Yet despite the enormous burden that mental ill-health imposes, mental health care remains a truly neglected area of global health policy.
In this essay, Toby Ord explores the moral relevance of cost-effectiveness, a major tool for capturing the relationship between resources and outcomes, by illustrating what is lost in moral terms for global health when cost-effectiveness is ignored.
Consumption taxes for goods and services—sometimes called Value Added Taxes or VAT—are a common and effective revenue-raising tool used in many developing countries. But in some low- and middle-income countries, all but the poorest 10% of the population pay more in such taxes than they receive in cash transfers—even to the extent of worsening poverty levels. This has occurred in countries as varied as Armenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. Lustig will draw on new research from the Commitment to Equity (CEQ) project to show how replacing external aid with domestic resources generated through consumption taxes could have onerous consequences for the poor.
Lustig directs the Commitment to Equity (CEQ), a partnership with Tulane University, the Inter-American Dialogue, and CGD. The CEQ offers research and analysis on the equity impact of taxes and transfers in an effort to support governments, multilateral institutions, and nongovernmental organizations in their efforts to build more equitable societies.
In 2016 on the CGD Podcast, we have discussed some of development's biggest questions: How do we pay for development? How do we measure the sustainable development goals (SDGs)? What should we do about refugees and migrants? And is there life yet in the notion of globalism? The links to all the full podcasts featured and the work they reference are below, but in this edition, we bring you highlights of some of those conversations.
Human capital and its relation to poverty are central areas of study in development economics. The Mexican conditional cash transfer (CCT) program Progresa/Oportunidades is a particularly innovative human capital development program that was rigorously evaluated using a randomized design. In a time when randomized evaluations of social policy were still rare, a large-scale randomized evaluation was carried out that demonstrated important effects of the program on human capital accumulation and on poverty alleviation.
The program’s novelty and the finding of positive initial impacts contributed to both a large scaling up within Mexico and an impressive spreading of the program’s key features to new programs around the world. Susan Parker will review the academic literature on the development, evaluation and findings of the Progresa/Oportunidades program from her work with co-author Petra E. Todd.