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There was lots of cloud and not much silver lining at the climate change meetings which we attended in Warsaw. It was microcosm of many of the problems with our mechanisms for working together to solve shared problems.
New uncertainties come to the fore now that the global economy, after six years of turmoil, is showing signs of a return to a more normal situation, where real interest rates in the United States turn positive and commodity prices stabilize at a somewhat lower level, due to a cooling of red-hot demand from China. How will Latin America, which has been buoyed by capital inflows seeking higher returns, respond to the return of normal? Will the economic and social progress observed during the past two decades hold?
After some modest tweaks over the years, the trade component of the Commitment to Development Index got a makeover in 2013—not a new face, but a nip and tuck here and there. The latest CDI includes a more direct measure of tacit barriers to trade from the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators on the time and cost to import, exclusive of tariffs. The trade component also now recognizes the growing importance of trade in services—and barriers to it—thanks to another team of World Bank economists that developed the Services Trade Restrictiveness Index.
What will it take to end extreme poverty by 2030? That is the goal President Obama included in his SOTU in 2013, President Kim recently announced as the World Bank's key objective, and that USAID Administrator Raj Shah will discuss Thursday in a much-anticipated speech at the Brookings Institution.
Faces are glum here in Warsaw, host city of the UN climate talks known as COP19, and for good reason. Japan has slashed its ambitions for cutting carbon emissions, following its decision to end its nuclear programme. Canada abandoned the Kyoto Protocol last year.
A $1 trillion financing partnership to support ending extreme poverty, stopping avoidable child deaths, and meeting other widely supported post-2015 development goals sounds far-fetched. But improbable action is what will be needed if we’re going to come close to making such historically unprecedented progress. Indeed, delivering on proposed zero goals is going to take a broad and deep global partnership that’s about far more than aid.
Struggling to provide relief and reconstruction assistance in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda), the Philippines has launched a foreign aid information hub and gently encouraged donors to follow through on their own transparency pledges, with a top official reported in the Philippine press as saying that the two efforts "should go hand in hand."
For the second year in row, the winner of the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) is Denmark. (Tillykke!) Denmark does not have the highest score in any individual component, but it has the most consistently development-friendly policies across the board. Its Scandinavian neighbors, Sweden and Norway, are second and third respectively. The G-7 country with the most pro-development policies is the UK, in seventh place.