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

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

Taxation and the Political Agenda, North and South

Forum for Development Studies 31.1 (2004)
IDS publications on international development research

Taxation, Accountability and the Poor: Report

Report prepared for the UK Department for International Development and World Bank More details

This is the cover of a Working Paper

What Makes Microcredit Programmes Effective? Fashionable Fallacies and Workable Realities

IDS Working Paper 177 (2003)

There is an influential, orthodox explanation of the success of large scale micro-credit programmes, based particularly on interpretations of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. There are three core elements: the alleged importance of strong social bonds among small borrower groups; the notion of substantial borrower participation in management; and the belief in the centrality of charging unsubsidised rates of interest. More details

IDS Working Paper

International Lenders' and Investors' Behaviour: What the Markets Tell Us We Didn't Know

IDS Working Paper 193 (2003)

Drawing on interviews with international financial players based in London, New York, Chicago and other US financial centres, this paper aims to provide further information and insights into lenders' and investors' behaviour and their attitudes towards developing countries, and to identify new elements since the financial crises of the late 1990s. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Do UK Pension Funds Invest Responsibly?

A survey of current practice on socially responsible investment. More details

IDS Working Paper

Budgets and Ballots in Brazil: Participatory Budgeting from the City to the State

IDS Working Paper 149 (2002)

Budgeting institutions in the state of Rio Grande do Sul bring participatory democracy to public finance. A chief impact of participatory institutions is to change the relative power of groups within society. In this case, with the Workers' Party in state office, participatory decision-making strengthened lower-class groups interested in redistribution to the poor More details

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Towards Equitable Financing Strategies for Reproductive Health

IDS Working Paper 153 (2002)

This paper examines the impact of different financing regimes on the delivery of reproductive health services in low and middle-income countries. Financing is an important entry point for examining the impact of health sector reforms on reproductive health. More details

This is the cover of a Working Paper

National Budgets, Social Spending and Public Choices: The Case of Bangladesh

IDS Working Paper 162 (2002)

This exploratory study looks at the factors shaping the formulation and implementation of national budgets in Bangladesh with an emphasis on the determinants of public social spending. More details

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Political Dimensions of County Government Budgeting in China: a Case Study

IDS Working Paper 166 (2002)

This paper provides a discussion of the political dimensions of budgeting at the county level of Chinese government. Based on findings from field studies in three poverty-stricken counties in northwestern China, the research documents a rudimentary incrementalist budgeting system in the county governments. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Financial Reform in a Devolved African Country: Lessons from Ethiopia

Public Administration and Development 21 (2001)