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.
CGD’s work in technology and development focuses on the macroeconomic implications of technology change as well as technological applications for specific development challenges.
Technological advances are a driving force for development. But policy choices determine who benefits. CGD focuses on three key questions around innovation, growth, and inequality: How can governments use existing technologies to deliver services more effectively to citizens? How can international institutions help create and spread new technologies to tackle shared problems like climate change and pandemics? And how can policymakers ensure advances in artificial intelligence, automation, and communications bring shared benefits and not greater global inequality?
Technological constraints on the ability to send and receive money securely to remote locations are a common cause of poor implementation of anti-poverty programs. In new work based on one of the largest randomized controlled trials ever conducted, Karthik Muralidharan and colleagues (Paul Niehaus and Sandip Sukhtankar) study the role that payments infrastructure that combines electronic benefit transfers and biometric authentication can play in improving these programs. They find evidence of significant gains from the new system. Beneficiaries report receiving payments faster, making fewer trips to collect payments, and having to pay less in bribes to do so. They also find a reduction in leakage rates, which in turn result in improvements in the performance of the public workfare program, and increased private sector wages and household income. These results suggest that investing in secure authentication and payment infrastructure can significantly enhance "state capacity'' in developing countries to effectively implement a broad range of welfare programs.
*The Understanding India Seminars Series is organized by CGD's Understanding India initiative, which explores India's development challenges and experiences and the lessons they might offer for other developing countries.*
According to current estimates, some 10,000 people have been killed in the Philippines by super-typhoon Haiyan, 620,000 displaced, and over 9 million affected. Emergency relief and reconstruction assistance will be required on a large scale and for an extended period – perhaps more frequently in future years as climate change leads to an increase in extreme weather events.
Policy makers regularly make decisions for the whole country, but with poor access to the experiences and realities of a large majority of citizens. It is also difficult for them to know whether policies are properly implemented or actually working. Citizens equally do not have an easy way to know what is going on around the country, and to compare their situation with others’.
Until now, the only types of data that have been available to provide insight into national realities are administrative or survey data. Administrative data often suffer from quality issues and survey data are costly in terms of resources and time. At this CGD seminar, Elvis Mushi will talk about Sauti za Wananchi (Voices of Citizens), a new Twaweza initiative that uses mobile phones to regularly collect information from a broad cross-section of Tanzanian citizens. The initiative allows survey data to be gathered quickly and efficiently, at low cost.
Twaweza is a founding member of Feedback Labs, a consortium of nine philanthropic and international development organizations committed to making governments, NGOs and donors more responsive to the needs of their constituents.