Cover of Working Paper 478

Short-Term Impacts of Improved Access to Mobile Savings, with and without Business Training: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania - Working Paper 478

Gautam Bastian , Iacopo Bianchi , Markus Goldstein and Joao Montalvao

This paper presents short-term results from an experiment randomizing the promotion and registration of a mobile savings account among women microentrepreneurs in Tanzania, with and without business training. Six months post-intervention, the results show that women save substantially more through the mobile account, and that the business training bolstered this effect. 

Cover of Policy Paper 122

Perspective in Economic Evaluations of Healthcare Interventions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: One Size Does Not Fit All


As developing nations are increasingly adopting economic evaluation as a means of informing their own investment decisions, new questions emerge. The right answer to the question “which perspective?” is the one tailored to these local specifics. We conclude that there is no one-size-fits-all and that the one who pays must set or have a major say in setting the perspective.

Cover of Policy Paper 121

Examining the Debt Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative from a Policy Perspective


China’s Belt and Road Initiative hopes to deliver trillions of dollars in infrastructure financing to Asia, Europe, and Africa. This paper assesses the likelihood of debt problems in the 68 countries identified as potential BRI borrowers. We conclude that eight countries are at particular risk of debt distress based on an identified pipeline of project lending associated with BRI. 

Cover of Policy Paper 120

What Can We Learn about Energy Access and Demand from Mobile-Phone Surveys? Nine Findings from Twelve African Countries


We conducted phone-based surveys on energy access and demand in twelve African countries. From these findings, we draw several potential policy implications. First, both grid electricity and off-grid solutions currently are inadequate to meet many African consumers’ modern energy demands. Second, grid and off-grid electricity are viewed by consumers as complementary, rather than competing, solutions to meet energy demand. Third, a market exists for off-grid solutions even among connected, urban Africans.

Cover of the brief "Can Development Assistance Deter Emigration?"

Can Development Assistance Deter Emigration?


As waves of migrants have crossed the Mediterranean and the US Southwest border, development agencies have received a de facto mandate: to deter migration from poor countries. Will it work? Here we review the evidence on whether foreign aid has been directed toward these “root causes” in the past, whether it has deterred migration from poor countries, and whether it can do so.

Cover of Policy Paper 118

Tax and Development: New Frontiers of Research and Action


This paper looks at estimates of the potential gains from taxing across borders, alongside largely domestic measures such as property tax, personal income tax, VAT, and tobacco taxes. It finds that while action on cross-border taxation could yield additional tax take in the region of one percent of GDP, in many countries measures targeting the domestic tax base might deliver something in the region of nine percent. The main enabler is political commitment.

Cover of Working Paper 474

Measures of Global Public Goods and International Spillovers - Working Paper 474


This paper attempts a first-cut listing of global public goods and international spillover activities, as well as providing some data on their global distribution alongside basic correlational analysis. Few if any goods are “pure” global public goods and there is a spectrum of the extent of spillovers. Some global public goods are not well measured. The listing is far from exhaustive, nor is it based on rigorous selection criteria. But it does suggest considerable diversity in trends, levels and sources of public good and spillover activities.

Cover of Working Paper 475

FDI and Supply Chains in Horticulture (Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers, Raw, Packaged, Cut, and Processed): Diversifying Exports and Reducing Poverty in Africa, Latin America, and Other Developing Economies - Working Paper 475


Prior research on foreign investment and supply chains in emerging markets has focused almost exclusively on the creation of international networks in manufacturing and assembly. This paper extends that research, looking beyond manufacturing into supply chain creation in horticulture in developing countries.

Stock photo of pills in a row

Healthcare Systems as Intelligent Payers: What Can the Global Health Community Learn from the English National Health Service?


Today, politicians are under growing pressure to squeeze more out of every dollar and guarantee greater access to better, more affordable healthcare for their citizens. In such a resource-constrained environment, wasting trillions of dollars on health every year is not viable. This note provides an overview of some of the approaches and policy options that the National Health Service in England has been using to maximise value for money.

Cover of Policy Paper 117

Structuring and Funding Development Impact Bonds for Health: Nine Lessons from Cameroon and Beyond

Roxanne Oroxom , Amanda Glassman and Lachlan McDonald

Despite the considerable interest in Development Impact Bonds, only a few have reached the implementation phase. We use information from stakeholder interviews to describe the design of one DIB in-depth and use lessons from a range of impact bonds to develop recommendations for potential partners to future DIBs. Lessons from the set of impact bonds reveal a need to reset expectations, particularly around the time and effort needed to develop and market a DIB.