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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How Filipino LBTs Cope with Economic Disadvantage

IDS Evidence Report 120 (2015)

After decades as the so-called ‘sick man of Asia’, the Philippines has adopted the export-driven model of economic development followed by wealthier Asian countries (Makabenta 2014) and has begun to address the pervasive corruption that has perennially deterred investment. More details


Development Banks from the BRICS

IDS Evidence Report 111 (2015)

The BRIC acronym was created at the beginning of the 2000s to represent a group of four fast-growing economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – and was changed to BRICS in December 2010 with the inclusion of South Africa. More details


Civil Unrest and Government Transfers in India

IDS Evidence Report 108 (2015)

This paper investigates empirically the role of government expenditure on social services in mitigating and preventing civil unrest (riots) in India. The empirical analysis makes use of a unique longitudinal dataset compiled across the 16 largest Indian states for the period 1960–2011. More details

Non-IDS publication

Understanding The Diffusion Modes Of Grassroots Innovations In India: A Study Of Honey Bee Network Supported Innovators

In this paper we examine the outcomes and connections of preferences of the non-formal innovators identified by the Honey Bee Network (HBN) in India. More details

Book cover for Growth is dead, long live growth! The Quality of Economic Growth and Why it Matters

Growth is Dead, Long Live Growth: The Quality of Economic Growth and Why it Matters

As the signs of negative impact of global climate change are becoming evident, and especially in the aftermath of the global economic turndown, societies had a choice --- either reframe their definition of growth, or try to pursue it, growth as we have known it for many decades. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Market Response to Corporate Scandals Involving CEOs

Applied Economics 47.17 (2015)

This article examines corporate scandals of both a financial and non-financial nature between 1993 and 2011 which is expressly linked to a firm’s CEO. Findings suggest that in the short run, investors react adversely to such events and that recalcitrant CEOs end up costing their shareholders dearly. More details

Non-IDS publication

Lessons from the Recent Economic Crisis: The Australian Household Stimulus Package

International Review of Applied Economics 29.3 (2014)

This paper provides an impact evaluation analysis of the 2009 Australian Household Stimulus Package, which was composed by three main cash payments: the Back to School Bonus, the Single Income Family Bonus and the Tax Bonus for Working Australians. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Making the Poor Pay for Public Goods via Microfinance: Economic and Political Pitfalls in the Case of Water and Sanitation

MPIfG Discussion Paper 11/14 (2014)

This paper critically assesses microfinance’s expansion into the provision of public goods. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Negotiating Exclusions in Developing Country FTAs

Foreign Trade Review 49.4 (2014)

There exists a choice of negotiating the exclusions in tariff liberalisation: negative or positive listing. The extent of coverage caters to all sectors/products minus an identified ‘sensitive list’ under the negative list approach is considered more liberalising than positive listing with coverage across a specific number of sectors/products selected for preferential treatment. 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

IDS publications on international development research

Banking on a New World Order

The Economic Times of India (2014)

The establishment of a BRICS bank may see a geopolitical shift from developed countries to developing ones. More details

PB64 Front Cover

Understanding South Africa’s Role in Achieving Regional and Global Development Progress

IDS Policy Briefing 64 (2014)

As Africa’s most diversified, developed and (until recently) largest economy, South Africa occupies a unique position in the international development debate. It is an active player in global governance and development fora, maintains an extensive development partnership with its region, and is a member of the BRICS Forum of emerging powers (along with Brazil, Russia, India and China). More details

Rendite machen und Gutes tun? Mikrokredite und die Folgen neoliberaler Entwicklungspolitik

The first book to collect critical perspectives on microfinance in the German language, this volume brings together researchers, practitioners and journalists for an encompassing assessment of the spread of microfinance and its broader consequences. More details

Non-IDS publication

Taxation and Livelihoods: A Review of the Evidence from Fragile and Conflict-Affected Rural Areas

This joint SLRC/ICTD paper investigates the neglected topic of the impact of taxation on people’s livelihoods, especially in places affected by war and violent conflict. More details

This is the cover for IDS Working Paper 436, 'An Economics of Wellbeing:
What Would Economics Look Like if it were Focused on Human Wellbeing?'

An Economics of Wellbeing: What Would Economics Look Like if it were Focused on Human Wellbeing?

IDS Working Paper 436 (2014)

This paper makes a number of fundamental proposals to reconsider economics by putting human wellbeing at the centre. More details

Non-IDS publication

Is the International Tax System Fit for Purpose, Especially for Developing Countries? Le système fiscal international cadre-t-il avec les objectifs fixés, en particulier en ce qui concerne les pays en voie de développement?

This ICTD Research in Brief is a two-page summary of ICTD Working Paper 13, by Sol Picciotto. The brief is aimed at policy makers, tax administrators, fellow researchers and anyone else who is big on interest and short on time. Le système fiscal international cadre-t-il avec les objectifs fixés, en particulier en ce qui concerne les pays en voie de développement ? Ce résumé de recherches de l’ICTD est une synthèse de deux pages du document de travail 13 par Sol Picciotto. More details

Non-IDS publication

Taxation and Development: What Have We Learned from Fifty Years of Research? Fiscalité et développement: Qu’avons-nous appris au bout de cinquante années de recherches?

This paper contributes to the broader ICTD research objective of gaining a better understanding of how to improve tax policy and administration across a range of diverse developing country settings. Ce document contribue à l'objectif global de la recherche de ICTD pour mieux comprendre comment améliorer la politique et l'administration fiscales a travers des divers contextes de pays en développement. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Shadow Economy in Conflict-Affected Countries

Targeting the shadow economy in conflict-affected contexts is a complex task about which little is known (expert comment). This rapid literature review uncovered little focusing on interventions aimed at incentivising war profiteers to join the legal economy and even less on leveraging the positive social function that shadow economies can provide to conflict-affected populations. More details

Non-IDS publication

How Does Financial Regulation in Low-Income Countries Affect Growth and Financial Stability?

Without effective regulation, financial systems can become unstable, triggering crises that can devastate the real economy. However, there is another side to regulation. The primary purpose of finance is to facilitate productive economic activity. The avoidance of crises creates the foundation for this, but does not guarantee it is done well: financial regulation has a profound effect on the ability of the financial system to perform this function. More details

Non-IDS publication

Sustaining Growth and Structural Transformation in Africa: How Can a Stable and Efficient Financial Sector Help?

This paper draws together a number of essays that emerged from a public debate in Ghana on ‘What does it take to build a stable and efficient financial sector for sustaining growth and structural transformation in Africa?’ More details