Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity





Vaccine manufacturing plant. Adobe Stock
April 25, 2020

Delivering on the Promise of “Equitable Access” to Epidemic Vaccines and Treatments: the Need for Norms, Processes, and Evidence to Guide Supply and Allocation

While there has been much interest and investment in developing epidemic vaccines and medicines to combat emerging infectious disease threats, there has been less attention to how we will manage and allocate the global supply of efficacious vaccines and treatments once we have them. The launch of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator marks an unprecedented commitment to global collaboration to ensure rapid and equitable access to medical countermeasures for COVID-19, such as vaccines and treatments.

The cover of the note
April 24, 2020

Pandemic Policies in Poor Places

There can be little doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is a huge threat to the world’s poor. There is, of course, the direct threat from the new coronavirus, to be taken seriously by everyone. But there are other threats looming too, and some no less worrying.

Image of greenhouse gases
April 22, 2020

Projecting Global Emissions for Lower-Income Countries

This note updates and builds on analysis from 2014 by Stefan Dercon, which projects carbon dioxide emissions by the poorest countries to understand their likely future contribution to global emissions. Whilst these countries’ emissions are currently very low, there is concern that rapid economic growth could alter this picture.

Image of the globe as a piggy bank
April 17, 2020

Addressing Debt Vulnerabilities

Around the turn of the century, there was a broad recognition that the debt burden of many developing countries was impeding their growth. Much of the debt had accumulated in the context of the Cold War and had not resulted in productive investment.

The cover of the note
April 14, 2020

Eight Principles for the DFI Crisis Response

DFIs are not central banks. They do not drive monetary policy stances and overall lending conditions in their countries of operations. Rather, during economic and other shocks, they must find ways to restart or boost financial intermediation for direct and systemic impact on target populations, sectors, and countries. But they must do so with an eye on their own balance sheets.

April 14, 2020

Headship and Poverty in Africa

With a little more care to take context and the confounding attributes that make female-headed households (FHHs) particularly prone to poverty into account, this paper argues that headship can be useful for identifying poor households in Africa.

The cover of the working paper
April 10, 2020

Can Boosting Savings and Skills Support Female Business Owners in Indonesia? Evidence from A Randomized Controlled Trial

This study tests the relative effectiveness and cost effectiveness of providing supply-side incentives to promote agent banking savings accounts, business and financial literacy training for female entrepreneurs, and the combination of the two on women’s businesses and agency in Indonesia.

Cover of Policy Paper 170
April 2, 2020

Chinese and World Bank Lending Terms: A Systematic Comparison Across 157 Countries and 15 Years

China’s lending volumes in developing countries far surpass those of other bilateral creditors and compare in scale only to World Bank lending practices. Where World Bank lending terms, volumes, and policies are publicly available, the state of knowledge on official Chinese financing terms remains limited due to a lack of official transparency.

Cover of the revised working paper 527
March 30, 2020

SDG1: The Last Three Percent

There is a little-noticed but important difference between the World Bank’s original goal for poverty reduction and the subsequent UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). While both target the “$1.90 a day” poverty rate, the Bank’s goal was a 3% rate by 2030, while the SDG is to “eradicate” poverty by 2030.

Image of money and financial symbols
March 27, 2020

What to Do When You Can’t Prove DFI Additionality

“Additionality” is central to claims of impact by development finance institutions (DFIs). At its core is the notion that DFIs are necessary to solve a market failure by providing capital, risk mitigation, or some other benefit to a market that is not delivering these services strictly through private actors. But what exactly constitutes additionality, how do we know when it is real, and how can we measure it?