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If the World Bank Wants to Move On from the Doing Business Scandal, It Should Take a Look at AidData

Today’s release of a new dataset of over 13,000 Chinese-financed projects in developing countries marks a major contribution to our understanding of China’s role as a lender to the developing world, as well as the ways in which these projects are increasingly structured to avoid accounting for direct liabilities on public balance sheets. At a moment of high debt vulnerability in the developing world, both contributions ought to prove valuable to policymakers in rich and poor countries alike as they seek to work through these problems.  

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Spending Wisely and Transparently to Realize the Promise of Education for All

This week, world leaders convene in London with the aim to mobilize funds for the Global Partnership for Education to benefit at least 175 million children over the next five years. Reversing the learning losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will require substantial, well-targeted public spending. This is particularly true in the context of assisting poor and disadvantaged children who were already at a higher risk of being left behind prior to the pandemic to catch up as quickly as possible.

A road construction project in Sri Lanka. Photo by Deshan Tennekoon/World Bank

In the Secretive World of Government-to-Government Lending, 100 Chinese Debt Contracts Offer a Trove of New Information

Is Chinese financing good for developing countries? Taking stock of China’s lending activities has long been hindered by the lack of publicly available data on dimensions like loan volumes and interest rates, let alone more esoteric features like loan collateral or default contingencies. A pathbreaking new study by researchers at AidData at William & Mary, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Georgetown Law School, and the Center for Global Development changes that.

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Scaling the Summit of Democracies

One of President Biden’s foreign policy campaign commitments was to hold a “Summit of Democracies” in the first year of his presidency. While skeptics have raised valid concerns—not least which countries should appear on the guestlist— a summit could spur useful reforms at home and abroad.

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IFC Must Implement the Recommendations of its External Accountability Review

In late July, we had called for the immediate release of the IFC/MIGA report, and we are pleased that the report has now been disclosed. The review is comprehensive and exposes serious problems in IFC/MIGA’s accountability system that have led to its dysfunction. The process for implementing reforms should be open and transparent and should address the following shortcomings:

A word cloud of the most frequently used words in paper titles from Banerjee.

A Quick Guide to 100+ Publications by Economics Nobel Winner Abhijit Banerjee

Last month, Abhijit Banerjee won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, together with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer. Here’s a quick introduction to almost all of Banerjee’s publications. The range of topics is breathtaking, from land reform to corruption to microcredit to international aid to the fundamental nature of poverty.

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