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

Masculinities and Transition

The project will explore the experiences of men and shifting constructions of masculinities in current ‘transition countries’ 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

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IDS publications on international development research

Impact Investments: A Literature Review

Centre for Development Impact (2015)

In terms of structure, this summary paper will first discuss findings from a review of documents presenting various methods of evaluating, assessing and/or measuring impact investments. Then, this paper covers literature on the evaluation of impact investments, including social and development impact bonds (SIBs/DIBs); and finally, this paper briefly reviews other modalities of socially-oriented investments. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Young People, Agriculture and Employment in Rural Africa

The much heralded growth and transformation of many economies in sub-Saharan Africa over the last decade continues to receive prominent attention in academic scholarship and among policy practitioners. An apparent feature about this transformation, however, is that Africa’s youth appear to have been left out. More details

Non-IDS publication

Markets for Nutrition

LANSA Policy Brief 2 (2015)

Making safe, nutrient-rich foods more accessible for people on low-incomes is one way to reduce micronutrient undernutrition. Efforts to integrate better agriculture and nutrition are focused on this goal, and many initiatives target low-income farm households. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Perspectives on Jobs and Farming: Findings from a Q Study with Young People, Parents and Development Workers in Rural Ghana

Future Agricultures 109 (2015)

This paper presents the results of a series of Q Methodology studies with secondary students and parents at two sites in Ghana (Ashanti Region and Northern Region), and with development officials. The studies were informed by the argument that there is a significant risk of implementation failure when there is a clash of assumptions or world views among the parties associated with a policy process. More details

IDS publications on international development research

On-farm impact of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Evidence and knowledge gaps.

Agricultural Systems 132 (2015)

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is being promoted worldwide, but relatively little is yet known about its impacts at farm level. This article reviews available evidence on the impact of SRI practices in terms of yield and productivity. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Working Paper 451.

Livestock and Livelihoods in Africa: Maximising Animal Welfare and Human Wellbeing

IDS Working Paper 451 (2014)

Livestock perform several vital roles in rural livelihoods in Africa, providing food (meat, milk, eggs), draught power and transport, as well as income from sales of animals and animal products. However, the implications for animal welfare are not always considered. Theory suggests that animal welfare follows an ‘n-curve’ in relation to productivity. It tends to be low in smallholder farming a More details

IDS publications on international development research

Scenarios for Global Agriculture and Food Security Towards 2050: A Review of Recent Studies

This book explores how food production and consumption is embedded in powerful political and market forces and how these influence local actions. More details

This is the cover to IDS Policy Briefing 78, 'Agricultural Impact Evaluation is Failing to Measure Up'.

Agricultural Impact Evaluation is Failing to Measure Up

IDS Policy Briefing 78 (2014)

New technology that enables sustainable and profitable production of food is critical for both food and nutrition security and economic development. Yet, recent research suggests assessments of the productivity gains farmers realise from new technology are routinely flawed methodologically and hence unreliable as a basis for decision making. More details

Article entitled The Triviality of Measuring Ultimate Outcomes.

The Triviality of Measuring Ultimate Outcomes: Acknowledging the Span of Direct Influence

IDS Bulletin 45.6 (2014)

Sustainability standards and certification schemes have been promoted as a market driven instrument for realising development impacts and receive public funding. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Agricultural Development and Food Security in Africa: The Impact of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian Investments

Journal of Agrarian Change 14.4 (2014)

The frenzy mirrors the growing stature of the likes of China, India or Brazil in the world economy and their mounting influence in global governance. More details


Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs November 2012 – March 2014

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2014)

Knowledge and evidence are important elements of all policy processes. While the availability of more or higher quality evidence does not guarantee better policy processes, it is difficult to imagine how development policy and outcomes can be improved without it. More details

ER76 Front Cover

Mapping Value Chains for Nutrient-Dense Foods in Tanzania

IDS Evidence Report 76 (2014)

This report details the findings of an analysis of value chains for several nutrient-dense foods in Tanzania. It rapidly assesses the potential of ten commodities to contribute to reducing undernutrition and identifies three with particularly high potential. More details

This is the cover for IDS Working Paper 439, 'Who Wants to Farm? Youth Aspirations, Opportunities and Rising Food Prices'.

Who Wants to Farm? Youth Aspirations, Opportunities and Rising Food Prices

IDS Working Paper 439 (2014)

Who wants to farm? In an era of land grabs and environmental uncertainty, improving smallholder productivity has become a higher priority on the poverty and food security agenda in development, focusing attention on the next generation of farmers. More details

Policy briefing 52 teaser image

Is Nutrition Losing Out in African Agricultural Policies? Evidence from Nigeria

Agricultural policies in many African countries focus on industrialising food value chains and substituting domestic products for imported ones. Yet experience in Nigeria shows that, by focusing on staple crops and neglecting vegetables, pulses and animal proteins, these policies are missing opportunities to address micronutrient undernutrition. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Assessing Uncertainty Along the Climate-Crop-Economy Modeling Chain

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 119.9: 3274-90 (2014)

Agricultural production is sensitive to weather and thus directly affected by climate change. This paper is part of a collective effort to systematically integrate climate, crop and economic models to obtain plausible estimates of these climate change impacts More details

IDS publications on international development research

Agriculture and Climate Change in Global Scenarios: Why Don't the Models Agree?

Agricultural Economics 45.1 (2014)

This article presents climate change results and underlying determinants from a model comparison exercise with 10 of the leading global economic models that include significant representation of agriculture. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Comparing Supply-Side Specifications in Models of Global Agriculture and the Food System

Agricultural Economics 45.1 (2014)

This article compares the theoretical and functional specification of production in partial equilibrium (PE) and computable general equilibrium (CGE) models of the global agricultural and food system included in the AgMIP model comparison study. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Why Do Global Long-term Scenarios for Agriculture Differ? An Overview of the AgMIP Global Economic Model Intercomparison.

Agricultural Economics 45.1 (2014)

Artilce illustrating the results of a study where 10 global economic models that produce long-term scenarios compare a reference scenario with alternate socioeconomic, climate change, and bioenergy scenarios using a common set of key drivers. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Impacts of Increased Bioenergy Demand on Global Food Markets

Agricultural Economics 45.1 (2014)

This article shows to what extent a strong increase in ligno-cellulosic bioenergy deployment may affect agricultural markets and land-use change. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Future of Food Demand: Understanding Differences in Global Economic Models

Agricultural Economics 45.1 (2013)

This article reviews demand modeling approaches from 10 global economic models participating in the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP). More details