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.
Foreign direct investment, financial flows, private-sector development, humanitarian assistance, Africa
Vijaya Ramachandran is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. She works on the impact of the business environment on the productivity of firms in developing countries, and is the coauthor of an essay titled "Development as Diffusion: Manufacturing Productivity and Africa's Missing Middle,” published in the Oxford Handbook on Economics and Africa. Vijaya is also studying the unintended consequences of rich countries’ anti-money laundering policies on financial inclusion in poor countries. She has published her research in journals such as World Development, Development Policy Review, Governance, Prism, and AIDS and is the author of a CGD book, Africa’s Private Sector: What’s Wrong with the Business Environment and What to Do About It. Prior to joining CGD, Vijaya worked at the World Bank and in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. She also served on the faculties of Georgetown University and Duke University. Her work has appeared in several media outlets including the Economist, Financial Times, Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times, National Public Radio, and Vox.
In this paper, witha foreword by senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran, Benjamin Eifert of UC-Berkeley investigates the effects of regulatory reform by drawing on years of data across 90 countries. He discusses the characteristics of countries that choose to reform and the results of these reforms. The paper it contains valuable insights for policymakers and institutions focused on regulatory reform in weak states.
Join Nancy Birdsall, David Gergen, and CGD senior fellows who are authors of essays in our newest book, The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President , for a lively discussion of the prospects for improved U.S. development policy under President Barack Obama.
As you know, David Gergen has been an influential participant in American public life for 30 years. A best-selling author and advisor to presidents Reagan, Nixon, Ford and Clinton, David is currently director of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, editor-at-large at U.S. News & World Report, and a senior political analyst for CNN.
Countries have tough choices to make over investing in different types of infrastructure. Do schools come first? What about irrigation and other agricultural needs so that populations can be fed? And they can't ignore the importance of roads, bridges, and other transportation in facilitating trade and markets for economic growth. Then there's energy, communication, and more. There will always be competing and urgent needs for both public and private infrastructure, and the age and growth rate of the population helps determine the priorities of those needs. This lecture examines how demographic variables affect the need for different infrastructure types, including urban, spatially connective, and regional infrastructure, and how well countries use demographic knowledge to influence their infrastructure investments. Sobering conclusions about the likelihood of meeting those needs are presented.
This is a joint posting with David Wheeler and Robin Kraft
When countries in Latin America or Africa descend into crisis, economists in Washington take a harsh view. Governments are forced to reduce spending in return for IMF rescue packages and in some instances, countries are even put on a cash-only budget. In the United States, we have a very different approach designed to minimize hardship of any kind -- the bailout.
In his new book From Poverty to Power, Oxfam GB's Duncan Green argues that there is now an added urgency beyond the moral case for tackling poverty and inequality: the need to build a secure, fair, and sustainable world before climate change makes it impossible. Leaders, organizations, and individuals need to act together, while there is still time. In what promises to be a lively, thoughtful discussion, Green will offer his unique insights into the human and economic costs of inequality and poverty, while also proposing realistic solutions to break the cycle of poverty and inequality and to give poor people power over their own destinies.
We exploit quasi-random variation in hydro-power generation and transmission in Brazil in order to isolate of the causal effects of electricity grid expansion on changes in population density and GDP. Since hydro-power generation requires intercepting water at high velocity, there is a random component to households’ access to electricity in a country that relies heavily on hydro-power, as that access depends on the household’s proximity to rivers with a gradient suitable for hydro-electricity generation. This allows isolation of the causal component of the relationship between electrification and development outcomes. The most plausible interpretation of our findings is that local access to electricity does not cause increases in population density, but does cause increases in GDP per capita by raising worker productivity.
Just ahead of the G8 summit on May 19 at Camp David, a new report by the ONE Campaign highlights the opportunity to focus on real and sustained investments in African agriculture that could impact the lives of millions. The report includes very timely recommendations for the heads of the G-8 and other world leaders:
This is a joint posting with Owen McCarthy and Julia Barmeier
The events in Haiti have demonstrated the reactive nature of emergency response—specifically the myriad of appeals for funding for food, medicines and basic supplies. While these initiatives can produce positive results for the disaster victims, they are often encumbered by long delays, which mean that people stay hungry and sick for days, weeks or even months. The United Nations says that it is currently feeding 4,000 people, and hopes to feed 2 million people within a month.