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Build Back. Worry About Better Later

The slogan “build back better” has become widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the extent it is used to promise a recovery that ensures less risk of a repeat, greater equality and more opportunity, that’s a wonderful thing. But the term comes with a history—and not a great one

An image of a plant growing with a city skyline in the background.

Don’t Trade Off Climate Mitigation and Development

Future generations are (currently) blameless, our actions leave them in peril, but we can do something about it. All of this is utterly true of climate change, and it is why rich countries (that disproportionately pollute) should take the lead in paying for climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

An image showing solar panels and a city skyline in the background.

What Are the Development Outcomes of Development Finance?

What impact do development finance institutions (DFIs) like the IFC have on actual development? Today, George Yang and I release a paper that tries to take a sectoral approach to impact: does an IFC electricity investment lead to more power production per capita in a country, or financing provided to local banks lead to a larger proportion of people with a bank account?

Map of Chinese lending projects around the world, concentrated in Europe, Asia, and Africa

The Problem Isn’t that Chinese Lending Is Too Big, It’s that the US and Europe’s Is Too Small

As the possibility of a new Cold War between the US and China gains traction in some foreign policy circles, the scale of Chinese development finance has taken center stage. A closer examination suggests the cost to China of this lending is distinctly underwhelming. It would be cheap for the US and Europe to match China’s lending numbers –and in the interest of global development if it was done right.

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