With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
CGD’s work on gender focuses policies in aid, development finance, trade, migration and peacekeeping that will improve women’s economic empowerment worldwide.
Greater equality drives big gains in health, education, employment, and improved livelihoods—for individuals, their families, and their communities. However, in many parts of the world, women and girls, and other marginalized groups including LGBT people, still face legal, economic, and political constraints that prevent them from participating fully and equally in society. CGD uses evidence to show how governments, donor institutions, and the private sector can help create conditions in low- and middle-income countries that allow all people to thrive.
The Obama administration has taken some important steps to put women’s economic empowerment at the center of US foreign and development policy, but there’s still plenty of work left to do. Researchers and advocates alike have made the case for why gender equality—and specifically women’s economic empowerment—is critical for achieving economic growth, eradicating extreme poverty, and improving the health, education, and well-being of people worldwide. This blog post turns to concrete ways that the next US administration can promote women’s economic empowerment, thereby maximizing the impact of its development agenda.
Women’s economic empowerment is increasingly recognized as critical to achieving development outcomes around the world. Informed by a roundtable discussion at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and additional suggestions from CGD researchers, this four-point memo aims to issue practical proposals for the next US administration, particularly aimed at economically empowering women and girls worldwide, as a building block toward the full realization of broader gender equality and women’s agency and empowerment. The recommendations build on those in CGD’s The White House and the World briefing book, as well as the CGD policy memo “A US Law or Executive Order to Combat Gender Apartheid in Discriminatory Countries” and ongoing work at CGD focused on women’s financial inclusion.
Last week the World Bank announced the process for choosing the next president of the organization. Minutes after midnight on the first day nominations were to be accepted, the US formally nominated the incumbent Jim Kim. Other nominations are possible in what is, allegedly, an “open, merit-based, and transparent” process, but which will only be “open” for three weeks. Here are five women who could ably lead the World Bank.
A multi-year project just came to fruition with the endorsement by the Board of the World Bank of its new set of safeguards—the social and environmental standards that govern Bank-funded projects in client countries. CGD's expert on multilateral development banks, senior fellow Scott Morris, reacted to the new policies in a recent blog post, and joins me this week on the CGD Podcast to discuss.
Should patients be paid to seek lifesaving services? Should patients receive lifesaving service free of charge? While these two questions have typically been studied separately, we decided to take a look at them together. In our new study, published in Health Services Research, we find that not charging pregnant women for health services mattered less than paying them.
In 1996, Burkina Faso enacted legislation banning the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). Much of the qualitative literature surrounding FGM/C discounts the impact of legal change on what is considered a social/cultural issue. We use data from the Demographic and Health Surveys DHS(VI) in Burkina Faso to test for a discontinuous change in the likelihood of being cut in the year the law was passed. We ﬁnd robust evidence for a substantial drop in hazard rates in 1996 and investigate the heterogeneous impact of the law by region, religion, and ethnicity.
Female genital mutilation/cutting rates have fallen in some countries but risen in others, despite a global ban. A new paper looks at the success story of Burkina Faso and the role of legal reform in decreasing FGM/C.
The world’s elite—plus a few ringers like me—gathered last week in the small Swiss village of Davos to discuss the state of the world at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Although not formally on the agenda, the issue of tropical forests infiltrated a number of discussions. But first, a quick recap of the meeting’s big themes that provided the broader context.
Five thousand researchers, practitioners, advocates and others are descending on Copenhagen for Women Deliver, the largest conference focused on the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. Much of what will be discussed aligns with CGD’s own work through our global health policy and gender and development programs, so we’re pleased to be attending and below, we’re pleased to share with you a few of the conference areas where we can add our voice.
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WASHINGTON – Today marks the launch of White House and the World, the Center for Global Development’s latest initiative aiming to chart a path for the next U.S. President’s global development agenda.
Ties between the U.S. and developing countries are becoming stronger each day. International crises that have a direct impact on the security of the American homeland – destabilizing conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa, territorial disputes in Ukraine and the South China Sea, the persistent rise of religious extremism – can find their roots, in one way or another, in failing global development policies.
“America’s ability to lead in the world depends more than ever on its political readiness to address flaws in the global system that undermine opportunities for poor people around the world,” said Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development. "It’s a triple win – the right thing to do for the world’s poor, a sound investment in America’s own long-term prosperity, and fundamental to America’s long-run security.”
A series of wide-ranging briefs tackling development policies from global health and migration to economic transparency and climate change have been released on CGD’s website.
Migration – Gender – Energy Access – Trade – HIV/AIDS & PEPFAR – Economic Transparency – Tropical Forests & Climate Change – Global Health – USAID – MCC – Multilateralism – Outcome-Based Aid – Development Finance
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Modernizing US Migration Policy for Domestic and Development Gain
Expert: Michael Clemens (bio)
Each year, international migrants send roughly four times more money home to developing countries (about $550 billion) than the global total of foreign aid. The U.S. should reflect this shift with more coordinated policies including legal temporary migration for low-skilled Mexican workers.
Advancing a Gender-Based Development Agenda
Expert: Charles Kenny (bio), Sarah Dykstra (bio)
Between 1980 and 2009, the number of women in the global workforce only increased by two percent. Women are much more likely to be stuck in low-productivity, low-paying jobs, with huge impacts on development. The US should target more aid to women’s empowerment and use trade and investment tools to fight discrimination.
Powering Up US Policy to Promote Energy Access
Experts: Todd Moss (bio) & Ben Leo (bio)
It’s time for the developing world to undergo the same transformation the United States did after 1930, when only one in 10 rural Americans had access to electricity. Six hundred million still Africans lack access to electricity, which could be remedied if the U.S. opts to strengthen the Power Africa initiative.
Taking the Lead on Trade: Presidential Leadership for Trade and Development
Expert: Kimberly Elliott (bio)
The rules of regional trade initiatives such as TPP and TTIP are typically set by the richer countries. The U.S. focus on these hurts poor nations and undermines further a WTO that already risks losing credibility. The U.S. should revive multilateralism and ensure regional agreements support both trade and development.
Strengthening Incentives for a Sustainable Response to AIDS: A PEPFAR for the AIDS Transition
Experts: Mead Over (bio), Amanda Glassman (bio)
Since 2003, the U.S. has supported 7 million of the 13.7 million AIDS patients in low and middle-income countries through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). However, without dramatic changes to PEPFAR, the next president risks being held responsible for the failure of a program that until now has been one of the United States’ proudest foreign assistance achievements.
Promoting the Development Power of Economic Transparency
Expert: Owen Barder (bio)
Weak institutions are both a cause and a consequence of underdevelopment. Transparency and openness can be the keys to reform – and the driver for accountable governance – if the next president takes steps to protect and increase tax revenues by implementing multilateral automatic information exchange and tackles money laundering and corruption by requiring public registries of corporate beneficial ownership.
Protecting Tropical Forests, Global Prosperity, and Climactic Stability
Experts: Frances Seymour (bio)
U.S. policies remain sharply divided over the appropriate response to address climate change in all but one area: protecting tropical forests. Tropical forests have many positive – though often invisible – effects on developing economies, and conserving them is a big part of the solution to climate change.
Bringing U.S. Development Finance Into the 21st Century
Experts: Ben Leo (bio) & Todd Moss (bio)
The future of development policy is in development finance. As incomes rise, developing countries need aid less and less; what they need now is private investment and finance. This could be done by establishing a U.S. Development Finance Corporation.
Restructuring U.S. Global Health Programs to Reflect New Challenges and Missed Opportunities
Experts: Amanda Glassman (bio), Rachel Silverman (bio)
In the absence of effective international institutions, the U.S. has become the world’s de facto first responder for global health crises like HIV and Ebola. A U.S. Global Health Coordinator could lead on reforming international efforts to tackle the next global threat.
Is USAID Fit for Purpose? A Proposal for a Top-to-Bottom Program Review
Experts: Casey Dunning (bio), Ben Leo (bio)
USAID has become a $17 billion-per-year agency that operates in 125 countries, yet it has been three decades since a US president instructed the agency to conduct a top-to-bottom review of its programs; the next president should do so.
Realizing the Power of Multilateralism in US Development Policy
Expert: Scott Morris (bio)
Within the Multilateral Development Banks, the U.S. often sets out a policy agenda defined more by budgetary constraints at home than by a clear vision of goals and priorities abroad; doing so threatens America’s status as a global leader. The U.S. should establish a multilateral assistance target and conduct a multilateral aid review and reallocation of budgetary resources to institutions that prove they can reach U.S. policy objectives.
Shifting the Foreign Aid Paradigm – Paying for Outcomes
Experts: William Savedoff (bio), Rita Perakis (bio), Beth Schwanke (bio)
Global development is about much more than aid, but US foreign assistance will remain one of the most visible tools for US development policy. US foreign assistance often comes under fire for failing to achieve measurable and sustainable results. The next frontier of foreign aid is focusing on financing outcomes (like increased agricultural yields) instead of inputs (buying fertilizer).
Defining the Next Ten Years of the Millennium Challenge Corporation
Expert: Sarah Rose (bio), Franck Wiebe (bio)
MCC has a single mission: reducing poverty through economic growth. The model has received much recognition, but since the agency controls just a small portion of the US foreign assistance budget, it alone has not fulfilled— and cannot be expected to fulfill—the founding vision of transforming U.S. foreign assistance policy. The next president should expand the proportion of U.S. foreign assistance subject to MCC-type aid effectiveness principles and make more flexible funding available that is not subject to congressional directives or administrative initiatives.
Last week CGD hosted an event on advancing women’s political leadership, featuring Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second, President Joyce Banda. President Banda discussed her own experiences as a woman in African politics and her current work to encourage other women to become political leaders, arguing forcefully for leveling the playing field