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A chart showing revenue in five different countries
June 1, 2020

The COVID-19 Crisis and Fiscal Reform in Low-Income Countries

The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic output and public finances in 2020 and beyond is projected to be massive. Fiscal policy can have a crucial role in mitigating the pandemic’s overall economic impact and promoting a quick recovery. It can help save lives and shield the most-affected segments of population.

Stock photo of Chinese currency
May 7, 2020

China’s Overseas Lending: A Response to Our Critics

Over the past two decades, China has become a major global lender, with outstanding debt claims from direct loans and trade advances alone exceeding 1.5 percent of world GDP. This surge in lending has financed many projects in infrastructure, mining, and energy. The problem is that there is little official data beyond those aggregate numbers, mainly because China has not released a breakdown of its lending activities.

An image of stacked money
May 6, 2020

Making the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights Work for COVID-19 Economic Relief

Many prominent people have advocated that the IMF undertake an “SDR allocation” to assist countries in dealing with the global financial crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. If IMF shareholders show some leadership and bureaucratic flexibility, there are ways to allay the American government’s concerns and quickly get liquidity in the hands of countries who desperately need it.

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.

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?

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