Ideas to Action:

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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.


Seven Development Policy Wishes for 2016

Sometimes it feels like Groundhog Day. Every twelve months or so, I sit down to write about my main wishes for the forthcoming year in development, and every list for the last few years has included my desire to see the US make good on its commitment to IMF quota reform (which would be of little extra cost to the US taxpayer as the US share of IMF funds could be augmented from existing monies already set aside for global financial crises). Dear reader, you can share my past frustration here, here and here.

There’s No Magic Bullet, But We Have the Tools to Reduce Inequality

Reducing inequality is front and center of the current economic policy agenda. Multilateral institutions like the IMF and the World Bank have accepted that high inequality leads to macroeconomic instability and lowers growth and that lower inequality helps make growth sustainable in the long run. But there is no magic bullet.

The World Bank’s New Global Poverty Line

This week saw the release of the World Bank’s updated global poverty counts. There is new country-level data on poverty and inequality underlying these revisions. But the big change is that the numbers are now anchored to the 2011 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates for consumption from the International Comparisons Program (ICP). Previously the numbers were based on the prior ICP round for 2005.

When Does One Dime = 100 Million People?

Ending extreme poverty is likely to be one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. So it is a good idea to figure out what that entails. And it turns out that it’s become more complex in the last year or so. That’s because new price data, 2011 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) estimates, were released in 2014 and the World Bank’s global poverty database, PovcalNet, also had a substantial update.

Related Research

SDG One: First Fix the Goalposts

This is the latest in a series of CGD blogs suggesting improvements to the SDG targets.

The first target of the first goal of the Sustainable Development Goals is to “eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere” by 2030.  The second target is to “reduce at least by half the proportion of…. [people] living in poverty…..according to national definitions.”  

A Better Measure of Shared Prosperity

One of the World Bank’s two goals for developing countries is to “share prosperity,” which it measures by the growth rate in mean consumption (or income) for the poorest 40 percent of the population. That metric has the appeal of simplicity, but it tells us nothing at all about how rising prosperity — or economic contraction — is being shared among the poorest 40 percent.

National Vices, Global Virtue: Is the World Becoming More Equal?

You may find the answer surprising, but the most recent data show that the world as a whole is becoming more equal, driven by fast growth rates of China and India and slower growth rates in rich countries. A decrease in the US mean income from 2008 to 2011, for instance, makes global convergence of people’s incomes a lot easier to achieve.