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COVID-19 has become the biggest stress test in decades for international cooperation. Will donors be able to deliver effective, sustainable development for the world’s poor while also scrambling to support health systems cope with this crisis?
We propose eight principles of direct democracy that shall provide guidance on the basic premises to be considered when direct democratic decision-making institutions are constituted. While institutional setups vary immensely across countries, there may exist a number of fundamental propositions that are widely applicable; propositions that make the use of direct democracy less controversial, less risky, more cohesive, and, not least, more democratic. It is important to discuss and clarify the use of this constitutive democratic institution that receives rather little attention.
How can countries escape the natural resource curse? And to what extent do cohesive and democratic institutions facilitate this process? In a new CGD working paper, we look at Nigeria—often seen as the prime example of a country cursed by its wealth. We show that when political institutions are cohesive and power is shared among the diverse groups in a multi-ethnic society, political contests over resource revenues are less likely to be violent. What produces cohesive institutions? Democratic elections.
On Tuesday, the World Bank announced the launch of a new database to characterize the quality and composition of the public sector in 115 countries. At this point, you might be thinking: “Who decided that we needed another country-level index?” Fear not!
On July 30, Zimbabweans will vote for the first time ever without Robert Mugabe on the ballot. Even before election day, there are very serious concerns about the validity of the vote. Vanguard Africa’s Jeffrey Smith and I wrote in the Mail & Guardian about eight reasons to worry, including poll manipulation, voter intimidation, interference by the military, and more. In totality, these problems already skew the outcome so greatly that they likely have already invalidated the vote.
The SDGs include a target to “significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organised crime”. However, there is no globally agreed upon definition for “illicit financial flows.” My new CGD paper looks at why there is so much disagreement and confusion over this term.
As Liberia begins its transition to a post-Sirleaf government, the President's Young Professionals Program will no doubt come to be appreciated as one of her noteworthy achievements. Yet I can’t resist this opportunity to spell out the four reasons why PYPP and Emerging Public Leaders-type programs could be especially suited to the evolving capacity needs of ministries of finance in constrained resource environments.
Events are in tremendous flux in Zimbabwe after the non-coup committed by the military last week and the resignation of President Robert Mugabe on November 21. It’s not too early for the international community to start considering constructive steps to help the country get through the inevitable transition and back on a path to democracy and prosperity.