Economy and Finance

The global economy is rapidly changing. Economic power is increasingly shifting from North America and Europe to China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies. At the same time, poverty remains endemic in many parts of the developing world. Global challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity are shaping the way countries manage their own economies and interact with others.

Accountant counting a bundle of 100 Yuan bank notes.Credit: Mark Henley / Panos

The impacts of the financial crisis are being felt around the world, placing global financial systems under increased scrutiny and raising questions about regulation and reform.

Sustainable and equitable economic growth is more important than ever. Achieving this requires countries to reach out to broader markets through trade, and to create the right domestic environment to stimulate investment and innovation. They also need to ensure that external relationships contribute as much as possible to domestic growth and development, and that the benefits of development are shared fairly.

IDS works on a range of issues concerning economy and finance, including:

  • Trade and growth – we are analysing trends in global trade and regionalisation of the global economy using quantitative analysis and economic modelling.
  • Sustainability and the green economy – we are seeking to understand how investment in low-carbon technologies can help countries grow sustainably, and how this investment could be increased.
  • Finance and infrastructure – we are examining the impact of Development Finance Institutions support for Private Participation in Infrastructure on economic growth and poverty reduction.
  • Private capital flows – we are mapping changes in capital flows, and linking this to development impacts.
  • Climate change finance – we are exploring how to mobilise and distribute finance that helps countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • Environmental taxation – we are exploring the links between environmental taxation and international development outcomes.
  • Business innovation and branding – we are examining how businesses in China and Brazil are growing their innovation and branding capabilities.

Assessing the Tobin Tax

The current financial crisis has stirred up an old debate about whether it might make sense to impose a Tobin Tax, either on foreign exchange transactions or on all financial transactions. More details

BRICS Economic Engagement Footprint Study

This project investigated the nature of economic relations between the BRICS and Africa, in order to quantify the development footprint, focusing on various elements such as trade, investment. finance, ODA and migration. The current phase aims to look at development finance and the role of BRICS development banks. More details

Business from the BRICS

The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of business from the BRICS countries in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Codes and Standards and Development Finance

Using case studies of Brazil and India, this work looked at the impact on development finance of compliance with international codes and standards. More details

Evidence and Lessons from Latin America (ELLA)

Evidence and Lessons from Latin America' (ELLA) is a knowledge sharing and learning programme, that seeks to improve knowledge of Latin America's development among African and Asian policymakers, practitioners and researchers - on selected economic, environmental and governance issues. More details

Handbook of Financialization

Financialization has become the go-to term for scholarship that studies the vastly expanded role of finance in contemporary politics, economy and society. The goal of this handbook is to provide a comprehensive overview of the scholarship on financialization as it stands today, almost twenty years after the concept was first embraced by social scientists More details

International Architecture for Economic Shock Financing

This project examined the international architecture of economic shock financing and provided some recommendations for a better shock financing architecture. More details

Linking Participation and Economic Advancement

In this project, IDS will draw upon and expand its rich experience at the forefront of thinking about participation in development, and our emerging work at the intersection of participation and markets. We will co-create along with the Economic Advancement Program (EAP) at the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a deeper understanding of participation in economic advancement in general, as well as how EAP can bring participatory approaches into its own practice. More details

Political Economy of Low Carbon Investment in China and India

This project investigates whether and how coalitions of public, private and civic actors influence low carbon investment. More details

Research on the Poverty Impact of Market and Enabling Business Environment Programmes in Kenya

To what extent does private sector development work in Kenya contribute to a reduction in poverty and inequality? This review aims to assess the evidence base for DFID Kenya’s Wealth Creation Pillar programming. More details

UNU-WIDER Symposium on Taxation & Revenue Mobilisation in Developing Countries consultancy

Bruno Martorano will be conducting research on the topic of ‘Tax Changes and Inequality in Latin America, 1990-2010’ More details

View all Research Theme's publications

Use this search to display this theme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.


IDS publications on international development research

Financial Reform in a Devolved African Country: Lessons from Ethiopia

Public Administration and Development 21 (2001)

Another Path to Customs Reform: Mexico’s Second Inspection

International Journal of Public Administration 23.12 (2000)
IDS publications on international development research

State Intervention and Business in China (review essay)

China Review International 7.1 (2000)
This is the cover of a Working Paper

Economic Reforms in India: Impact on the Poor and Poverty Reduction

IDS Working Paper 102 (2000)

This paper analyses the impact of the economic reforms initiated in India in 1991 on the poor and on poverty reduction. Using time series analysis of poverty indicators for all India and across states, it notes that while rural, urban and overall national poverty levels in India recorded a significant decline during the pre- reform period (1969-70 to 1990-91), during the post- reform period (1991-92 to 1993-94), these negative trends have weakened or even reversed in terms of one or more poverty indicators. More details

IDS Discussion paper

Economic Reform and Economic Performance: Evidence from 20 Developing Countries

IDS Discussion Paper 376 (2000)

Do adjustment policies assist or retard growth? This paper presents data on economic performance (aggregate and sectoral growth, inflation, investment and external account) for 20 countries. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Micro-Credit: Impact, Targeting and Sustainability

IDS Bulletin 29.4 (1998)

This IDS Bulletin on 'Microfinance' has grown out of a workshop on 'Recent Research on Microfinance: Implications for Policy', held at IDS in February, 1998 and organised by the Poverty Research Unit at Sussex (PRUS). More details

Financial Sector Reform and Monetary Policy in Nigeria

IDS Working Paper 68 (1998)

This paper reviews the impact of financial liberalisation on monetary policy in Nigeria, examining in particular the progress made in the transition from direct to indirect forms of monetary management. More details

Banking Reform in Ethiopia

IDS Working Paper 37 (1996)

The monopoly government-owned banks in Ethiopia remained relatively sound throughout the period of socialist government. More details

Banking Policy in Botswana: Orthodox but Untypical

IDS Working Paper 39 (1996)

Financial sector policy in Botswana was unusual. In most other African countries, newly independent governments intervened extensively in the ownership, management and credit allocation of domestic banks. More details