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CGD maintains an active program of research and analysis of the World Bank, the world’s largest development institution and a leading source of funds, ideas, and expertise for development. The Center’s work in this area offers new ideas and practical suggestions for making the World Bank more effective, accountable, and legitimate in a rapidly changing global economy. Recent work includes the High Level Panel on Future of Multilateral Development Banking: Exploring a New Policy Agenda, building on past work on the future of the World Bank. That work focused on priorities for incoming World Bank presidents, improvements to the leadership selection process, and work on the future of IDA, the Bank’s concessional lending arm.
Development Finance Institutions (DFIs)—which provide financing to private investors in developing economies—have seen rapid expansion over the past few years. This paper describes and analyses a new dataset covering the five largest bilateral DFIs alongside the IFC which includes project amounts, standardized sectors, instruments, and countries. The aim is to establish the size and scope of DFIs and to compare and contrast them with the IFC.
IFC’s portfolio is not focused where it could make the most difference. Low income countries are where IFC has the scale to make a considerable difference to development outcomes. While an excessive portfolio shift might imperil IFC’s credit rating, the evidence suggests that there is considerable scope for increasing commitments to low income countries without significant impact to IFC’s credit scores.
On Friday, the World Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, told the Wall Street Journal that the Bank unfairly influenced its own competitiveness rankings. He highlighted the case of Chile which suffered lower rankings on the Doing Business index during the Bachelet administration versus the Piñera years, and recalculated these rankings on his personal blog. Today, he issued a clarification of his views.
The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects 2018 recognizes that the global economy is enjoying a long-awaited broad-based cyclical recovery. In this favorable environment, the Bank expects growth in emerging and developing countries to continue during the next couple of years. But this is no time for complacency. Forces depressing potential output growth will continue unless countered by structural policies. While most commentators focus on the recent cyclical upturn, the new World Bank report presents a sober analysis of long-term growth prospects. Director of the World Bank's Development Prospects Group, Ayhan Kose will give a brief presentation of the report and will then participate in the panel discussion, moderated by CGD president, Masood Ahmed.
Last week the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) board of directors approved financing for three projects, including, for the first time, a project in China. Looking back at AIIB operations to date, these are my three takeaways.
World Bank President Jim Kim is hoping the bank’s 189 shareholders will agree to increase the current capital of the bank’s “hard” window sometime in 2018. But the US wants to link any support for a recapitalization to World Bank “graduating” China—and perhaps other member countries with good access to private capital markets who don’t seem to “need” the World Bank. There are sensible arguments on both sides of this divide.
As Lant Pritchett reports, the World Bank has introduced two new poverty lines: $3.20 for lower middle income countries, and $5.50 for upper middle income countries. I’m with Lant that this is broadly a good thing. But the process by which the World Bank came up with its new poverty lines suggests it might be worth revisiting some of the pitfalls of income thresholds at the individual or national level.