Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity


Microfinance, foreign aid, Commitment to Development Index, debt and debt relief


David Roodman, a former CGD senior fellow, worked at the Center from March 2002 to July 2013. His work at the Center focused on microfinance, debt relief, and aid effectiveness. His widely praised book Due Diligence confronts questions about the impacts of microfinance and how it should be supported. He wrote the book through a pathbreaking Microfinance Open Book Blog, where he shared questions, discoveries, and draft chapters.

Roodman was an architect and manager of the Commitment to Development Index since the project's inception in 2002. The Index ranks the world's richest countries based on their dedication to policies that benefit the 5 billion people living in poorer nations; it is widely recognized as the most comprehensive measure of rich-country policies towards the developing world.

Roodman wrote several papers questioning the capacity of common cross-country statistical techniques to shed light on what causes economic development. He co-authored a 2004 American Economic Review paper that challenged findings of World Bank research that aid works in a good policy environment. His non-technical Guide for the Perplexed builds on analysis of methodological problems and fragility in other studies. Among econometricians Roodman is best known for his computer programs that run in the statistical software package Stata; articles about them won him the inaugural Stata Journal editors' prize in 2012. Also in 2012, Roodman aged off the RePEc list of top young economists in the world, at number 6.

Roodman previously worked at the Worldwatch Institute, where he wrote three monographs on environmental issues, and one on debt, Still Waiting for the Jubilee: Pragmatic Solutions for the Third World Debt Crisis. He authored the book The Natural Wealth of Nations: Harnessing the Market for the Environment, which Foreign Affairs called "required reading for legislators around the world.” The Japanese edition garnered him a selection as one of "The Outstanding Young Persons" of 2003 by the Osaka Junior Chamber, which led to an audience with the Emperor and Empress.

Roodman spent academic year 1998–99 on a Fulbright in Vietnam.

Visit his website at

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