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Sanjeev Gupta, Deputy Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund
Vitor Gaspar, Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund Beth Adair, former Global Tax Director, Airbnb Inc. Avi Goldfarb, Ellison Professor of Marketing, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto Paul Johnson, Director, Institute of Fiscal Studies, United Kingdom
Masood Ahmed, President, Center for Global Development
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 event’s panel discussion will center around fundamental questions raised in the book, which makes the case that by transforming how we collect, process, and act on information, it can expand and reshape the way we operate within the frontiers of policymaking, allowing us to do what we do now, but better—and perhaps before too long, even design fiscal policy in new ways. The book also explores the institutional challenges and capacity constraints faced by countries seeking to benefit from the digital revolution, as well as privacy and cybersecurity concerns, which call for greater international cooperation and regulation as information increasingly travels across borders.
An excerpt of the book is now available online. Electronic copies of the full publication will be available in early November, as well as on USB drives at the book launch.
In a recent paper, Kate Ambler and coauthors studied the impact of one-season cash transfers for agricultural investment in Senegal and Malawi, using data from a randomized control trial (RCT) in each country. They found evidence that transfers reduced both the number of decision makers and female decision making in Senegal in the short-run, particularly for measures directly related to agriculture. However, the effects disappeared two years after the transfers. Conversely, the authors find transfers in the Malawi program led to robust transitory increases in these measures, seeing a greater impact related to the number of decision makers in the household persisting after two year period. Join us for the latest CGD Invited Research Forum to discuss these opposing findings on the effects of cash transfers on household decision making.
Indian agriculture remains vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, and the looming threat of climate change may expose this vulnerability further. Using district-level data on temperature, rainfall and crop production, Siddharth Hari’s paper first documents a long-term trend of rising temperatures, declining average precipitation and increase in extreme precipitation events. One key finding is that the impact of temperature and rainfall are felt only in the extreme: when temperatures are much higher, rainfall is significantly lower, and the number of “dry days” greater is than normal. He also finds that these impacts are significantly more adverse in unirrigated areas (and hence rainfed crops) compared to irrigated areas. Can policy makers react to the challenges of climate change and find ways to get “more crop for every drop?"
Estimating intergenerational mobility in developing countries is difficult because matched parent-child income records are rarely available and education is measured very coarsely. In particular, there are no established methods for comparing educational mobility for subsamples of the population when the education distribution is changing over time.
In their recent paper, Sam Asher and coauthors present new methods and new administrative data to overcome this gap, and study intergenerational mobility across groups and across space in India. They find that the intergenerational mobility for the population as a whole has remained constant since liberalization, but cross-group changes have been substantial. Rising mobility among historically marginalized "Scheduled Castes" is almost exactly offset by declining intergenerational mobility among Muslims, a comparably sized group that has few constitutional protections. These findings contest the conventional wisdom that marginalized groups in India have been catching up on average. The paper also explores heterogeneity across space, generating the first high-resolution geographic measures of intergenerational mobility across India, with results across 5600 rural subdistricts and 2300 cities and towns.