Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity




An image of a South Asian man using an ipad for agricultural work.
September 16, 2021

Fast-Tracking Development: A Building Blocks Approach for Digital Public Goods

The world is undergoing rapid digital transformation changing the way individuals, markets, and governments interact and operate. Digital technologies have become part of our everyday lives.  The only constant in the digital world is change, and individuals, businesses, governments, and societies need to adapt quickly to keep up with it. At the same time, a significant proportion of the world’s population – often the poorest and the most vulnerable – do not have access to the digital tools and resources that many of us take for granted. As the world moves to a “digital first” approach to economic activity, it is important to ensure that the digital world is inclusive and equitable, advancing the global development objectives—reducing poverty, increasing human capital, ensuring sustainability and creating opportunities for a better life for all.

Anit Mukherjee and Shankar Maruwada
An image of a boy looking a dry river.
September 8, 2021

Staying Cool as the Climate Warms

Unprecedented heat waves and wildfires in 2021 are a warning of worse to come and a signal that the tempo of climate change may be quickening. A warmer planet subject to frequent and destructive severe weather events will be less livable, the productivity of economic activities will suffer, and higher temperatures will increase both morbidity and mortality. However, this future is not necessarily locked in.

An image of the policy paper
September 8, 2021

Operationalizing Climate Adaptation at the US International Development Finance Corporation: The Case for an Agriculture-Led Agenda in Low-Income Countries

This paper reviews the US International Development Finance Corporation’s agriculture portfolio, and based on this review, proposes elements of an agriculture strategy that can overcome barriers to adaptation and resilience investments in the most climate vulnerable markets.

September 1, 2021

The Case for Transparency in Power Project Contracts: A Proposal for the Creation of Global Disclosure Standards and PPA Watch

The purpose of a nation’s power sector is to deliver reliable electricity at the lowest cost and for the greatest benefit. At the heart of any private electricity generation project is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), a contract that contains key provisions such as price, payment stipulations, and obligations by the offtaker utility and/or host-government.

Mohamed Rali Badissy , Charles Kenny and Todd Moss
Cover of policy paper 226
August 25, 2021

How Effectively Is the Asian Development Bank Responding to COVID-19? An Early Assessment

In 2020, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) joined efforts by other multilateral development banks to rapidly scale up support to developing countries to address COVID-19. Beyond headline numbers, there has been less focus on how ADB’s support was distributed by country income group, sector, modality and product, and how the bank has operated in 2021.

August 19, 2021

Vietnam: The East Asian Model Redux

Vietnam’s development since the early 1990s has given new life to the East Asian export-led growth model. For late starting economies, Vietnam’s experience provides valuable lessons not only on the policy initiatives that can deliver positive results, but also on the inevitable and the potentially avoidable pitfalls that can slow or derail development.

The cover of the paper
August 18, 2021

The Impacts of COVID-19 on Women’s Social and Economic Outcomes: An Updated Review of the Evidence

In an updated review on the gendered social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, we examine 49 studies identified by our search criteria between January and March 2021. This review included peer-reviewed papers, pre-prints and working papers that met specific search terms, contained empirical analyses and complete information on the study methodology, and included findings on the gendered social and economic impacts of the pandemic in low- and middle-income contexts.

Megan O'Donnell , Shelby Bourgault , Lotus McDougal , Nabamallika Dehingia , Wendy Wei Cheung and Anita Raj
Various international currencies lined up
August 18, 2021

The Challenge of Reallocating SDRs: A Primer

The approval of a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the first effort to deal with the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis on a global level. The purpose of this note is to reframe the concept of SDRs and then to outline in broad the types of proposals that have been mooted as a basis for more detailed work over the coming months.

August 17, 2021

Enabling US Government Participation in Pull Mechanisms for Social Impact Innovation: A Survey of Federal Authorities, Budgetary Barriers, and Potential Solutions

To help the US government make broader use of pull approaches, this policy paper surveys the ways in which US government authorities, budgetary rules, and procurement approaches either facilitate or constrain use of pull mechanisms to support R&D. It specifically focused on the budgetary “scoring” issues that can affect, and sometimes hinder, the use of such mechanisms.

Screenshot of the Note Cover
August 12, 2021

Malaria Case Management in the Private Sector in Africa: A Call for Action to Identify Sustainable Solutions

Over the past two decades, partnerships between bilateral and multilateral funders, philanthropy, national governments, and the private sector have substantially increased global access to effective malaria treatment. Nevertheless, further action on malaria case management is needed to meet global targets for reduced malaria morbidity and mortality.

A woman in a hair net and face mask busy at the spinning line, Tangshan City, Hebei, China
August 11, 2021

One Year after COVID: The Challenges and Outlook of Chinese Micro and Small Enterprises

The Online Survey of Micro- and Small-Enterprises is a continuing effort to gain a better understanding of China’s micro- and small- enterprises and self-employed businesses by conducting quarterly surveys. The key findings of the first quarter 2021 survey are as follows.​​​

Tao Kong , Xiaohan Yang , Ranran Wang , Zijun Cheng , Changyu Ren , Shuo Liu , Zhenhua Li , Fang Wang , Xiaoyin Ma , Junxing Gu and Xiaobo Zhang
A graphic that says Governing Data for Development
August 9, 2021

Are Current Models of Data Protection Fit for Purpose? Understanding the Consequences for Economic Development

The rapid increase in the number of countries that have enacted data privacy regimes over the last decade promises greater protection of personal data for a growing share of the world’s inhabitants. But meaningful questions remain about the effectiveness of these regimes in practice, alongside concerns that poor implementation of data privacy laws could weaken the protection provided and stifle innovation that supports economic growth and development. Here are the key takeaways from a roundtable discussion hosted by CGD on the issue.

A graphic that says Governing Data for Development
August 9, 2021

Do Evolving Digital Trade Rules Create an Uneven Playing Field? Understanding Global Perspectives

When national data policies are harmonized, organizations can more easily participate in the global digital economy. But the process of harmonization is inherently political, as it involves countries aligning their domestic practices with a single set of standards and principles. Reflecting the asymmetry of power in the global digital economy, the data governance choices made by a handful of jurisdictions strongly influence the set of policy options available to other countries. This is a summary of a roundtable discussion hosted by CGD on the issue.