Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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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.

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?

Cover of Working Paper 526
March 25, 2020

Building Resilient Health Systems: Experimental Evidence from Sierra Leone and the 2014 Ebola Outbreak

Developing countries are characterized by high rates of mortality and morbidity. A potential contributing factor is the low utilization of health systems, stemming from the low perceived quality of care delivered by health personnel. This factor may be especially critical during crises, when individuals choose whether to cooperate with response efforts and frontline health personnel. We experimentally examine efforts aimed at improving health worker performance in the context of the 2014–15 West African Ebola crisis.

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