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.
Ann Mei Chang, Chief Innovation Officer and the Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab, US Agency for International Development
Michael Faye, Co-founder and Executive Chairman, GiveDirectly
Sonal Shah, Founding Executive Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, Georgetown University
Charles Kenny, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Rajesh Mirchandani,Vice President for Communications and Policy Outreach, Center for Global Development
Development depends on innovation. New ideas, new funding mechanisms and new technologies save and improve lives, from vaccines to solar lamps to Development Impact Bonds. But even if innovations reach a million people, they still fall short of the billion who live in poverty.
How do we know when an innovation is ready to scale and how do we scale to the size of the problem? How do we make innovative solutions financially sustainable? How do we roll-out a successful idea across countries when no two countries’ conditions are the same? What is the role of aid agencies and governments in innovating to scale?
Ann Mei Chang, Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of USAID’s Global Development Lab, keynotes a CGD discussion where innovators and experts will dissect the challenges and explore opportunities to do better in harnessing innovation for development.
In Navigation by Judgment, Dan Honig argues that high-quality implementation of foreign aid programs often requires contextual information that cannot be seen by those in distant headquarters. Tight controls and a focus on reaching pre-set measurable targets often prevent front-line workers from using skill, local knowledge, and creativity to solve problems in ways that maximize the impact of foreign aid.
For over a decade, Boko Haram has waged a campaign of terror across northeastern Nigeria. In 2014, the kidnapping of 276 girls in Chibok shocked the world, giving rise to the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Yet Boko Haram’s campaign of violence against women and girls goes far beyond the Chibok abductions. From its inception, the group has systematically exploited women to advance its aims. Perhaps more disturbing still, some Nigerian women have chosen to become active supporters of the group, even sacrificing their lives as suicide bombers. These events cannot be understood without first acknowledging the long-running marginalization of women in Nigerian society. Having conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the region, Matfess provides a vivid and thought-provoking account of Boko Haram’s impact on the lives of Nigerian women, as well as the wider social and political context that fuels the group’s violence.
There is a lot of development data out there. But how do we translate this information into better development decisions--and better outcomes? This event, convened by the development nonprofit TechnoServe, in collaboration with the Center for Global Development, will explore some of the key questions that affect billions of aid dollars: How do we compare cost-effectiveness across a wide spectrum of projects? What would development look like if long-term impact studies were a part of every project design? How do we leverage rigorous findings of impact to scale successful projects?
As part of the G7 meetings, Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau will host a meeting of G7 Development Ministers – the first of its kind since 2010. In preparation for that meeting, Minister Bibeau will join the Center for Global Development to discuss the priorities for this global development summit. In particular, she will discuss the importance of advancing the empowerment of adolescent girls including their central role in eradicating poverty and the need to move towards gender-responsive approaches to humanitarian assistance.
Intensive and potentially unethical marketing of infant formula is believed to be responsible for millions of infant deaths in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), yet to date there have been no rigorous analyses that quantify these effects. Paul Gertler and colleagues drew on a sample of 2.48 million births in 46 countries, indicating that the introduction of Nestlé infant formula, the largest supplier worldwide, may have resulted in approximately 66,000 infant deaths in LMICs in 1981—the peak of the infant formula controversy—among households without clean water access. This suggests that unclean water inappropriately mixed into formula acted as a vector for the transmission of water-borne pathogens to infants.
Economic recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is gaining momentum, but more work is needed to ensure growth is both sustainable and inclusive. Looking ahead, activity is expected to gather further momentum—reflecting stronger demand at home and a supportive external environment. But there are still challenges ahead. Risks to the region’s outlook reflect internal factors as well as heightened external risks—notably, a shift towards more protectionist policies and a sudden tightening of global financial conditions. Additionally, longer-term growth prospects for Latin America and the Caribbean remain subdued.
Each year, delegations representing all World Health Organization (WHO) Member States attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) to determine the policies and budget of the organization. In advance of this year's WHA, the Center for Global Development will convene a curtain-raiser event to highlight topics and controversies on the WHA agenda -- from universal health coverage (UHC) and its measurement to the role WHO might play vis-à-vis global partnerships and funders and the alignment of global priorities.
During the early 1990s Germany received over half a million Yugoslavians fleeing war. By 2000, many of these refugees were repatriated. In their new paper, Dany Bahar and his co-authors exploit this episode to provide causal evidence on the role migrants play in contributing to productivity shifts in their home countries after their return, as explained by changes in comparative advantage.
In recent years, cash transfer programming (CTP) has emerged as one of the most significant innovations in international humanitarian assistance. The Cash Learning Partnership estimates that $2.8 billion was spent on cash and voucher programming in 2016, up 40% from 2015 and nearly double since 2014. Cash and voucher programming has demonstrated positive outcomes in addressing food security, access to education, healthcare, and economic recovery, in addition to supporting choice and dignity among affected populations.
Pascale Hélène Dubois will discuss the global impact of World Bank investigation and prevention activities and then join a panel with Kathrin Frauscher, Deputy and Program Director, Open Contracting Partnership and Hasan Tuluy, Partnership for Transparency Board Director, former World Bank Vice President, to dive deeper into what more can be done at the World Bank and other international institutions to combat corruption.
Over 1 billion women lack access to financial services due to economic and social barriers, time and mobility constraints, and discrimination in service provision. Financial services delivered digitally can address these barriers by providing women with safe and accessible channels. This event will look at the recent evidence and emerging technologies that work to empower women economically.