Center for Global Development in Europe


badgeCGD Europe was set up in November 2011 as a branch of CGD, as part of CGD’s effort to broaden and deepen engagement with the European development community. CGD Europe has since been established as a company limited by guarantee in the UK and has a registered charity number 1157318. Whilst CGD Europe is now a separate organisation with a separate board of Trustees, it continues to be a part of the CGD family, and complements CGD’s work by conducting its own high-quality empirical research and analysis on a range of development issues related to how the policies and practices of the rich and powerful impact on the world’s poor and most vulnerable.

CGD Europe is based in London, United Kingdom, and works under the leadership of Owen Barder, supervised by its board of Trustees who oversee and are responsible for CGD Europe’s activities. Details of CGD Europe’s Trustees can be found here.

CGD Europe is independent and non-party in its approach. We do not provide consulting services for the benefit of private companies.

The decisions that affect development are becoming more global, in design, decision, and reach, and CGD is exploring ways to become more global in our interactions and influence. The Center for Global Development in Europe was established in October 2011 with the aim of engaging with and learning from policymakers, academics, and researchers in Europe, and bringing the CGD blend of evidence-led, high-quality research and engagement to European policymaking and engagement about development.


CGD Europe works by carrying out rigorous, evidence-based research into a topic or idea, bringing together experts and stakeholders in a particular area to facilitate discussions and analysis, producing detailed reports and analysis, and disseminating the products of our work. CGD Europe’s research is carried out by a mixture of our own staff and external consultations, often academics based at universities and other educational institutions who have experience and qualifications in the particular field of research, and in collaboration with other experts in that field.

RSS Feed CGD in Europe Blog Posts

CGD Europe’s research is centred around the theme of reducing global poverty and inequality, and currently focuses on (a) illicit financial flows and effective taxation for development; (b) broader work on transparency, accountability and openness; (c) Europe’s development policies beyond aid; (d) innovative finance and private sector engagement in development, including Development Impact Bonds; (e) the Commitment to Development Index, a yearly ranking of rich countries according to whether their policies tend to promote or hinder development; (f) new measures of inequality; (g) modelling a new approach to reaching international agreement on climate change; and (h) the adoption and impact of property rights in developing countries as well as the role of property rights in large scale land consolidation.

We will continue to expand our portfolio of research and to provide practical policy recommendations as opportunities arise and as resources permit.

Commitment to Development Index & Europe Beyond Aid

The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) - published annually since 2003 - uses hundreds of indicators to rank wealthy governments by how their policies affect poorer countries in seven areas: aid, trade, finance, migration, environment, security, and technology transfer. The purpose of the CDI is to draw attention to, and to provoke thinking and discussion about whether wealthy countries are pursuing development-friendly policies, and to identify how those policies could be improved. CGD Europe took over responsibility for the CDI from CGD in 2013

Our research shows that there has been little overall improvement in the policies of OECD countries over the years that the index has been calculated. Consistently measured over time, the scores for aid, migration, trade and technology transfer are about the same as they were when the index was first calculated, and rich country policies to support global security are distinctly worse.

Using the CDI data and framework, CGD Europe is looking more closely at how European policies are affecting development.  Through the Europe Beyond Aid

 initiative, CGD Europe is collaborating with leading experts across Europe and around the world to conduct detailed research in each of the seven dimensions of the CDI. In each study, CGD Europe will examine how Europe performs overall on that dimension and the key drivers of that performance, including assessing the extent to which the room for improvement is primarily a question for the European Union collectively and the extent to which individual member states need to strive to do well independently.


Policy Paper - Illicit Financial Flows and the 2013 Commitment to Development Index, Petr Janský, December 2013

Brief - Commitment to Development Index 2013, Owen Barder and Petra Krylová, November 2013

Working Paper 313 - Europe Beyond Aid: Assessing Europe’s Commitment to Development, Owen Barder, Julia Clark, Alice Lépissier, Liza Reynolds and David Roodman, December 2012

Development Impact Bonds

The way development is financed is rapidly changing, with private investment and remittances now much more significant than aid; developing country governments’ own revenues increasing; and an emerging class of social impact investors seeking investments that yield both social and financial returns in developing country markets. Traditional providers of development assistance are looking for new ways to build partnerships and to ensure that aid is catalysing and complementing other financial flows, and meeting growing demand to demonstrate effectiveness.

Development Impact Bonds – based on the model of Social Impact Bonds - are a new tool for development funding that brings together the private sector, civil society organisations, governments and donors, in a way that allows each of these players to contribute to the achievement of social outcomes more effectively than if it were acting alone. The final report of an expert working group, Investing in Social Outcomes: Development Impact Bonds, explains how this approach could work and lays out recommendations for taking it forward. The next phase involves moving DIBs from being a ‘good idea’ to tangible projects from which we can start to learn.


Working Group Report - Investing in Social Outcomes: Development Impact Bonds, October 2013

Illicit Financial Flows

Illicit financial flows—money moved secretly from one jurisdiction to another—is an important factor in corruption that so often undermines development. Illicit flows include the cross-border components of tax evasion (predominantly through trade mispricing), laundering of proceeds associated with crime, bribery of public officials, and the theft of public assets. In each case, these flows rely on being hidden, typically through the exploitation of financial secrecy provided by other jurisdictions. Though scale is hard to measure, annual illicit flows from developing countries to banking secrecy jurisdictions run by rich countries may easily exceed total aid flows.

So far most analysis of illicit flows has focused on estimating the global total or the amounts leaving specific countries or arriving in specific secrecy jurisdictions. While the scale estimates allow us to imagine the amount of damage that is being done, less can be said about the type of damage, the degree of vulnerability of developing countries to illicit flows, and the development impacts of different policy measures to curtail illicit flows. These issues provide the central motivation for our work. Understanding issues of national and international tax policy form an important sub-section of the research agenda. CGD Europe plans to convene an expert Working Group on Economic Transparency that will explore opportunities to strengthen the anti-money laundering agenda, control terrorist financing, and identify policy recommendations for financial regulation.


Working Paper 350 - Estimating Illicit Flows of Capital via Trade Mispricing: A Forensic Analysis of Data on Switzerland, Alex Cobham, Petr Janský and Alex Prats, January 2014


Inequality is a central theme of CGD’s research. The gap between the richest and poorest countries –and people—not only persists, it is getting larger. In developing countries, in particular, inequality is frequently economically destructive, interacting with underdeveloped markets and ineffective government programmes to slow growth – which in turn slows progress in reducing poverty. We undertake research that considers various approaches to measuring and understanding inequality – and the potential application of these measures in setting national and global policy targets, including within the post-2015 successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals.

CGD Europe has been looking more closely at the ‘Palma’, a proposed alternative to the commonly used Gini measure of inequality. The Palma is the ratio of national income shares of the top 10 percent of households to the bottom 40 percent, reflecting Gabriel Palma’s observation of the stability of the ‘middle’ 50 percent share of income across countries so that distribution is largely a question of the tails. The paper, Is It All About the Tails? The Palma Measure of Income Inequality, jointly authored by Alex Cobham and Andy Sumner (co-director of the International Development Institute at King’s College London), sets out to assess the Palma, and concludes that there is a strong case for this measure to, at a minimum, sit alongside the Gini in tracking inequality.


Working Paper 343 – Is It All About the Tails? The Palma Measure of Income Inequality, Alex Cobham and Andy Sumner, September 2013

Climate Change

During 2015 the world aims to reach agreement on three interlocking questions: climate change, financing for development, and the post-2015 development framework. The hard work of finding an international consensus on these issues will happen in 2014, if it happens at all.

CGD Europe will be advancing a proposal for how countries can determine their contributions to reducing climate change. Our mechanism is based on the principle that every citizen in the world has an equal claim on the world’s environmental resources and our approach hinges on a group of developed and developing countries – a Coalition of the Willing – taking part in an emissions trading scheme (ETS), where the allowances of emission permits of countries converges to a per capita allocation.

Our research involves the creation of a scientific and economic model of carbon trading and the economics flows.


In 2013 and 2014, CGD Europe hosted more than 30 public and invitation-only events on an array of topics, such as problem-driven iterative adaptation, the role of the middle class in developing countries, and the implications of the transatlantic trade negotiations for developing countries. These events ranged from private roundtables to public seminars to social gatherings and were held on a cross-party, non-partisan basis. If you would like more information about CGD Europe events, please send us an e-mail.



owen barderOwen Barder, Senior Fellow and Director for Europe

Owen Barder is a senior fellow and the director for Europe. Barder was a British civil servant from 1988 to 2010, during which time he worked in Her Majesty’s Treasury, including as Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer; No.10 Downing Street, as Private Secretary (Economic Affairs) to the Prime Minister; and the Department for International Development, where he was variously Director of International Finance and Global Development Effectiveness, Director of Communications and Information, and head of Africa Policy & Economics Department. During 2004-2006 Barder worked at CGD, mainly on the Advance Markets Commitment for vaccines. Barder has also worked in the South African Treasury on budget strategy and was a visiting scholar in economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He has lived in several countries in Africa, most recently in Ethiopia during 2008-2011. Barder is member of the Advisory Group of Twaweza, the Board of Publish What You Fund, and a member of the UK Government International Development Sector Transparency Panel. He writes a personal blog at and hosts a development podcast at  He is on Twitter as @owenbarder and he also writes about running.

Matthew Collin, Research Fellow

Matt Collin joined CGD Europe in January 2014. His research currently focuses on illicit financial flows (along with Vijaya Ramachandran), the adoption and impact of property rights in developing countries and the role of property rights in large scale land consolidation. His recent work includes investigating the impact of ethnic sorting on formalisation behaviour, the effort of neighbour decisions on land title adoption, and the impact of conditional subsidies on gender equity in land ownership. Matt holds a D.Phil in Economics from the University of Oxford and previously worked at the Centre for the Study of African Economies and as an ODI Fellow in the Ministry of Finance, Malawi. He writes a personal blog on aid and development at and is on Twitter as @Aidthoughts.

Lee Crawfurd, Research Associate

Lee Crawfurd works with Lant Pritchett, Justin Sandefur and Amanda Beatty on research related to improving Education systems. He is also a PhD student in economics at the University of Sussex. Previously he has worked as a consultant with Oxford Policy Management for a range of development agency and government clients, as an Economist for the government of South Sudan and the UK government, and on communications for Innovations for Poverty Action. He has an MSc Economics for Development from Oxford University and a BSc Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. He blogs on aid and development at and tweets at @LeeCrawfurd.

catalina geibCatalina Geib, Programme Assistant

Catalina is a program assistant in the CGD Europe office. Catalina works on results-based initiatives - including Development Impact Bonds, alongside Rita Perakis and Owen Barder. She also organizes CGD Europe events. Catalina has a BA in European Studies (German) from King's College London and an MSc in Political Economy of Late Development from the LSE. Prior to joining CGD Europe, she worked for the Inter-American Development Bank and prior to that, for a non-profit in Peru and for the European Research Council.

sara godfreySara Godfrey, Operations Manager

Sara is Operations Manager for Europe – responsible for finance, people, accommodation and IT. She joined CGD Europe from Save the Children where she was Advocacy Manager on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Co-ordinator of Policy and Research. Prior to that, Sara worked as a programme manager at Sikika, a health advocacy NGO in Tanzania with a nationwide mandate in health governance. Sara started her career as an Assistant Policy Adviser at the UK Department for International Development. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA from the University of Sussex. 

Matt Juden, Research Assistant

Matt Juden works with Vijaya Ramachandran and Matt Collin on research topics including illicit financial flows, large-scale land acquisitions and the impact on remittances of anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing enforcement efforts. Other research interests include social protection, realist evaluation and external validity for randomised controlled trials. He holds an MA in Philosophy from Cambridge University and an MSc in Research for International Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies. He tweets @mattjuden.

Jenny Kendra, Institutional Advancement Coordinator

Jenny is the Institutional Advancement Coordinator for Europe. Jenny supports the outreach and institutional advancement team in D.C., and works closely with the Europe office in all fundraising activities, managing the events series in the UK and overseas. She is a graduate from Edinburgh University with an MA (Hons) in English Language and Spanish for which her thesis covered non-native language attitudes to different varieties of English. Jenny spent ten months collecting data in Buenos Aires, Argentina, teaching English to school children and as a translator before becoming a skills and research assistant at Newcastle University medical school. She went on to work for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the Protocol directorate as a Ceremonial Officer, overseeing and managing several events of national significance.

Petra Krylová, Programme Coordinator

Petra Krylová is a programme coordinator working with Owen Barder on the Commitment to Development Index and Europe Beyond Aid initiatives. Prior to joining CGD, Petra lectured and researched on project management, evaluation, and development assistance (of primarily non-DAC donors) at Palacky University, Czech Republic. She is a former director of a NGO that focuses on development education and awareness-raising in the Czech Republic. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Czech national platform of development NGOs. Petra is a graduate from Palacky University with a MA (Hons) in International Development Studies.

alice lepissierAlice Lépissier, Research Associate

Alice Lépissier works with Alex Cobham on the development impact of illicit financial flows and on effective taxation for development. She also works on a climate change mitigation policy proposal with Owen Barder. Prior to joining CGD Europe, she served as a consultant on climate-change adaptation and interned at the African Secretariat of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) in Cape Town. Originally from France, Lépissier holds a BA in European politics from University College London where she spent a year abroad at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She also holds a MSc in economics and public policy from Sciences Po and École Polytechnique, and a MSc in economic history from the London School of Economics.

rita perakisRita Perakis, Program Associate

Rita Perakis is a programme associate working on results-based aid initiatives, including Development Impact Bonds and Cash on Delivery Aid. She is a co-author of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) Assessment. Before joining CGD, Perakis earned a masters in public administration at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she served as a consultant on an agribusiness development project for the Millennium Challenge Corporation and intern working on youth unemployment issues for the Education for Employment Foundation-Morocco. She previously held positions at Seedco, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Carter Center. Perakis holds a BA in international studies from Emory University. She is on Twitter as @ritaperakis

theo talbotTheo Talbot, Research Assistant

Theo works with Owen Barder and the CGD Europe team. He has a Bachelor’s in Politics, Economics and Finance from McGill University in Montréal and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in development economics from Trinity College Dublin.

During his Ph.D., he was an Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Fellow in Vanuatu, where he worked in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Theo was raised in India and Ethiopia, and before joining CGD, he worked at the Ministry for Planning and Investment in Hanoi, for the University of Copenhagen’s Development Economics Research Group helping to design, implement, and analyse household and enterprise surveys.

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Center for Global Development in Europe
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Audio Recording: Europe Beyond Aid

Do European policies reflect its commitment to development?

Event Video: Development Impact Bonds

Launch of the final report of the working group on Development Impact Bonds

Global Prosperity Wonkcast: Inequality Post-2015

Alex Cobham speaks with Lawrence MacDonald about whether and how to measure inequality post-2015

Event Video: The Palma

Alex Cobham presents the ‘Palma’, a new method of inequality measure, at a CGD conference on inequality indicators for post-2015

Animation: The Palma

A short animated guide to the Palma

Global Prosperity Wonkcast: Illicit Financial Flows and the Three T’s of the G-8 Agenda

Alex Cobham speaks with Lawrence MacDonald about transparency and tax and about his programme of work on illicit flows and tax

Initiative Video: Development Impact Bonds

Rita Perakis explains the idea behind Development Impact Bonds

Interviews with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Candidates
Owen Barder interviews candidates for the EBRD Presidency on their vision of the Bank’s future

Global Prosperity Wonkcast: CGD Europe
Owen Barder speaks with Lawrence MacDonald about his intentions for CGD Europe

Nancy Birdsall announces CGD Europe
Nancy Birdsall, founding President of CGD, announces plans for greater engagement in Europe.

Development Drums
A development podcast from Owen Barder