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.
• Emily Oster, Professor of Economics, Brown University
• Lisa Noguchi, Director, Maternal Newborn Health, Jhpiego
• Pooja Sripad, Associate, Population Council
• Carleigh Krubiner, Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development
ABOUT THE EVENT
Advice on pregnancy and parenting has long been dominated by “conventional wisdom” and conflicting recommendations about what’s best for babies and young children, resulting in anxiety and some misguided decisions about how to support healthy childhood development. At the same time, the public health community is exploring the best ways to improve maternal and child health across the globe, with an eye to promoting health and agency. So what does the evidence actually say about best practices in pregnancy and parenting? How can we use evidence to empower parents and practitioners to make informed decisions, combat growing sources of misinformation, and alleviate unwarranted social pressures around practices that may not be backed by the evidence?
This event will explore the value of making evidence-based decisions from conception into the early years of childhood. Emily Oster, bestselling author and economist, will share highlights from her new book, Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool. She will then be joined by the other panelists to discuss the role of evidence for parents, practitioners, and policymakers in a variety of global contexts.
Copies of Cribsheet and Expecting Better will be available for purchase. Children are welcome to attend and there is a lactation room on-site.
New technologies continue to challenge traditional paths to industrialization, such as export-led manufacturing. But at the same time, they may offer new routes for development in services and the knowledge economy. Over the last 18 months, CGD has convened a group of experts to assess how rapidly these changes will emerge, whether potential positive or negative consequences will dominate, and under what circumstances.
Please join us for expert discussions on several of the themes that have emerged from this group, including what the growing role of automation means for the future of the export-led model; how governments can support competition in digital markets; and how policymakers can foster innovation and growth while protecting their citizens against abuse through sound data governance.
David Evans, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, will present new research which tests the impact of publicly providing day-care for children age 0-3 on children’s development, labour market participation for mothers, grandmothers, and others, and household well-being in Brazil. Following David’s presentation, Matthew Jukes will provide commentary and questions on the research and will position the findings within broader early childhood development policy and research.
Rising levels of external debt among developing countries has raised concerns about debt risks and revealed the degree to which the debt picture has grown increasingly complex. As developing country borrowers have gained greater access to a diverse array of creditors in recent years, so have they become exposed to a more complicated array of vulnerabilities when it comes to managing their debt on a sustainable basis.
On the sidelines of the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings 2019, the Center for Global Development (CGD) will host a group of distinguished panelists to discuss debt sustainability in the developing world. This panel will consider key questions about this new landscape. To what degree are debt vulnerabilities growing for these economies? Is today’s borrowing achieving its productive potential for these economies? Who are the new creditors, and how do they differ from traditional ones? Are the traditional venues for considering and managing debt vulnerabilities, including coordination on debt reschedulings and forgiveness, still fit for purpose? Please join us as we discuss these questions and more to assess the current and future debt sustainability landscape.
As countries grow to middle-income status and gain access to commercial lending, the development community is increasingly at odds as to if and how multilateral development banks (MDBs) should continue to lend to middle-income countries (MICs). Part of the community is of the view that MDB lending and technical assistance should be directed to lower-income countries, whose access to finance is limited, technical capacity is most strained, and poverty is more deeply entrenched. Nonetheless, the development challenge remains in most middle-income countries, where the greatest number of poor people reside, and significant progress needs to be made to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Also, MICs can often make a significant contribution to various global public goods, including climate change mitigation, limiting pandemic disease, and international migration. There is also an opportunity for so called “south-to-south” learning, intermediated by the MDBs.
This panel will discuss the issues confronting MDBs and their MIC clients in shaping their interaction for the next 10-20 years. It will be moderated by CGD’s President, Masood Ahmed.
India has been a leading country in the development of digital technology, including in the areas of identification, mobile connectivity and payments, and its application to reform governance and the delivery of programs and services, and to increase financial inclusion. Its experience is being closely watched by many other countries and the development community. What have been its achievements and where are the future challenges? How to ensure that the increasing volume of data empowers people rather than eroding their privacy? What can India’s experience tell us about the future of other countries and societies? At the forefront of “Digital India”, Nandan Nilekani is uniquely placed to offer a perspective on these questions.
Nandan Nilekani is co-founder of Infosys and its non-executive chairman. He was the first chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which implemented the Aadhaar program, now covering almost 1.3 billion people. He has headed the Government of India's technology committee, and the recent high-level committee constituted by the Reserve Bank of India to increase financial inclusion and create a robust digital payments ecosystem. He is also a co-founder of EkStep, a not-for-profit initiative to develop a universal digital learning platform and the author of two books: Imagining India: the Idea of a Renewed Nation, and (with Viral Shah) Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations.
For OECD-DAC countries who still provide substantial volumes of aid, do we agree on and still care about principles, measures and comparisons of what makes development aid “effective”? The context has changed significantly since donor countries agreed principles in a series of high-level meetings in Rome, Paris and Accra: not least the importance of fragile states; global public goods; and emerging development actors who do not recognize ‘aid’.
This panel will bring together high-level speakers to hear varying perspectives on whether there is still value in agreeing and measuring donor behaviors and if comparisons can drive improvements.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is high on the global development agenda and this past year has seen several global mobilizing moments and calls to action. Yet progress to date has been slow and mixed; many low- and middle-income countries are not on track to meet their commitments to the UHC2030 agenda, according to a recent World Bank report.
As global leaders convene for the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in Washington DC this October, we have an opportunity to take stock of progress, acknowledge challenges, and reflect on the road to 2030 and beyond. What are key lines of action for country governments and how can development partners best support them on the path to UHC? How can we ensure greater use of economic evidence in driving public spending decisions that get countries the best value for money and health gains? The panel will explore these questions and reflect on how the international community can move the health financing agenda forward.
The Center for Global Development is pleased to host Millennium Challenge Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Sean Cairncross, for his first major Washington policy speech since being confirmed in June. Cairncross takes the helm of MCC at a unique time. As the agency strives to remain grounded in its economic growth-focused, results-oriented model, it faces a number of new and exciting opportunities, including the authority to pursue regional investments, the potential for coordination and partnership with the US Development Finance Corporation, and the increased profile afforded by a White House initiative focused on women’s economic empowerment, W-GDP. Following his remarks, Cairncross will sit down with Tony Fratto, former White House deputy press secretary (2006-2009), to discuss these opportunities further as well as the challenges that lie ahead for the agency.
Public health programs such antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV are likely to have positive spillover benefits to community members beyond the targeted beneficiaries that could be many times larger than the direct benefits. Join CGD for a brownbag seminar to discuss Dr. Zoë McLaren’s recent study evaluating the direct and indirect impact of AIDS treatment on labor market outcomes in rural South Africa, using HIV test results to separately identify the impact by HIV status. The study estimates the impact of access to treatment using a rigorous statistical approach including machine learning methods. The work finds that the scale up of ART access led to employment increases not only among HIV-positive individuals, but also among HIV-negative individuals who had no HIV-positive household members. Investments in health-related human capital may therefore have important stimulus effects on local economies that should be considered alongside conventional economic policy.
Public spending on social sectors can play a crucial role in inclusive and sustained growth in low- and middle-income countries, and in delivering the health, education, and social protection outcomes to which governments and their partners have committed as part of the 2030 SDGs. Yet challenges are ahead. A large gap remains between the resources currently devoted to social sectors and the level needed to meet SDG targets. Each SDG has its own resource demands that require governments to weigh the costs and benefits of public spending across a range of uses. Finally, current and upcoming transitions in health and development aid, modest domestic resource mobilization gains, and rising debt service obligations put pressure on the fiscal envelope.
Humanitarian relief must involve, and be accountable to, the crisis-affected people it serves.
Versions of this principle can be found in most foundational humanitarian documents, and it features prominently in recent reform commitments including the 2016 Grand Bargain. Yet the power structures that shape international humanitarian response are not driven by, or accountable to, the people that they exist to serve. They are still engaged more as passive recipients of aid than as a force shaping humanitarian priorities. Living up to the aspiration of people-driven humanitarian action will require uncomfortable – but overdue – changes to the humanitarian system’s incentive structures and power dynamics.
Gautam Rao will talk about his new research, which examines whether evidence changes the beliefs and actions of policy makers. His findings show that policy makers do update their beliefs and do make different policy decisions when presented with new evidence. This research is particularly fascinating for anyone working in policy-influencing roles or in think tanks as it provides direct evidence that providing research information to political leaders can lead to policy change.