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.

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

Financial Repression and Financial Reform in Uganda

IDS Working Paper 30 (1996)

The banking system in Uganda is among the weakest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its liabilities comprise less than 10 per cent of GDP, it is highly oligopolistic and inefficient in performing many basic banking functions, and the largest bank and several smaller banks are insolvent. More details

The Impact of Public Policy on the Banking System in Nigeria

IDS Working Paper 31 (1996)

The banking system in Nigeria has undergone radical changes during the 35 years since independence. Banking developed from an industry which in 1960 was dominated by a small number of foreign owned banks into one in which public sector ownership predominated in the 1970s and 1980s and in which Nigerian private investors have played an increasingly important role since the mid 1980s. More details

Financial Policies and the Banking System in Zambia

IDS Working Paper 32 (1996)

For over 20 years until the early 1990s Zambia had entailed extensive government ownership and administrative controls over markets, including financial and banking markets. Interventionist policies, combined with a steep fall in the external terms of trade, led to economic decline. More details

IDS Working Paper

Financing Health Services in Poor Rural China: A Strategy for Health Sector Reform

IDS Working Paper 17 (1995)

This paper considers how the systems of finance and management of rural health services have changed due to economic reforms. More details

IDS Working Paper

Health Expenditure and Finance in Three Poor Counties of China

IDS Working Paper 21 (1995)

This paper contains reports on health expenditure and finance in the following poor counties in China: Donglan, in Guanxi; Shibing, in Guizhou; and Xunyi in Shaanxi. More details

Using and Abusing Rates of Return: A Critique of the World Bank's 1995 Education Sector Review

IDS Working Paper 22 (1995)

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the Education Sector Review draws on rates of return to education research (RORE) to support policy recommendations within the education sector. More details

IDS Discussion paper

The Design of Economic Reforms in the Context of Economic Liberalization: The Experience of Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda

IDS Discussion Paper 353 (1995)

This paper presents the main conclusions from research into the experience of economic policy reforms in African countries that are undertaking political liberalization. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Structural Adjustment of Structural Adjustment: SSA 1980-1993

IDS Bulletin 25.3 (1994)

Structural adjustment can be dated to the World Bank's 1981 Accelerated Development (Berg) Report, albeit precursor World Bank programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa (e.g. Togo, Malagasy Republic) date to the late 1970s. More details

How will the EU Response to the GATT Round Affect Developing Countries?

IDS Working Paper 11 (1994)

The paper makes an initial analysis of the trade policy changes that the EU will implement to give effect to its GATT Round commitments. More details

IDS Classics - publications from the past

The Political Analysis of Markets: Editorial Introduction

IDS Bulletin 24.3 (1993)

This IDS Bulletin stems from a dissatisfaction with the way in which the idea of 'the market' or 'the free market' is currently used in conventional discourse on developmental issues. More details

IDS Discussion paper

Botswana: Is the Economic Miracle Over?

IDS Discussion Paper 298 (1992)