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What lessons does India offer for other countries? What is the appropriate role for outsiders in addressing continued poverty and widening inequality in a country that has regularly clocked about 7 percent annual per capita GDP growth with foreign reserves close to $300 billion? And what can the world reasonably expect such a nation, with ample financial resources but a huge poor population of its own, to contribute to solving global problems? The Center for Global Development’s research explores these issues and more.
India has emerged as a leader in building on its biometric digital ID to reform service and program delivery. It moved quickly to consolidate the rollout of Aadhaar, and then to embed the unique Aadhaar number into program databases. A range of applications, including digital signature and payments, was then constructed on top of the Aadhaar foundation (the India Stack). Together with partners, the Center for Global Development is analyzing the effects of Aadhaar-based reforms. The three programs we discuss below highlight achievements as well as challenges that need to be overcome for greater efficiency and inclusion.
Reforming inefficient and inequitable energy subsidies continues to be an important priority for policymakers as does instituting “green taxes” to reduce carbon emissions. The paper outlines how the use of digital technology can help accomplishing those reforms, drawing on four country cases. The technology is only a mechanism; it does not, in itself, create the political drive and constituency to push reform forward.
The state of Andhra Pradesh is recognized as a leader in using technology to improve the delivery of public services, programs and subsidies. This paper reports on research to better understand the functioning and effectiveness of its reforms to strengthen state capacity by digitalizing service delivery.
We combine newly created data on per student government expenditure on children in government elementary schools across India, data on per student expenditure by households on students attending private elementary schools, and the ASER measure of learning achievement of students in rural areas.
Workers from poor countries can find enormous economic opportunity by working temporarily in a rich country. But agencies that fight global poverty do little to facilitate guest work. This may be because guest workers are perceived to typically suffer negative side effects that outweigh the benefits. This paper uses a natural experiment to test several perceptions of harmful side-effects on Indian guest workers in the Gulf. The research shows little evidence that the harmful side-effects often ascribed to guest work are typical and systematic, though this does not contradict the occurrence of many individual cases of harmful side-effects.
India just did something big for the climate: it announced that it will allocate $6 billion a year in tax revenue in a way that will encourage forest conservation. That’s more results-based finance for forest conservation than any other country in the world, including the current biggest spender Norway.
The paper critically reviews the arguments for and against both employment guarantees and income guarantees when viewed as rights-based policy instruments for poverty reduction in a developing economy, with special reference to India. Evidence on India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act does not suggest that the potential for either providing work when needed or reducing current poverty is being realized, despite pro-poor targeting. Instead, work is often rationed by local leaders in poor areas, and the poverty impact is small when all the costs are considered.
The majority of the world’s sick live in middle-income countries (MIC) – mainly Pakistan, India, Nigeria, China and Indonesia (or PINCI), according to new data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Sound familiar? Andy Sumner, Denizhan Duran, and I came to the same conclusion in a 2011 paper, but we used 2004 disease burden data, which didn’t provide an up-to-date view of reality. So I was pleased to see that our findings still hold based on IHME’s 2010 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) estimates.