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.

This is the image for IDS Research Report 76, 'Who Drives Economic Reform in Vietnam’s Provinces?'.

Who Drives Economic Reform in Vietnam’s Provinces?

IDS Research Report 76 (2012)

Vietnam keeps surprising the world with the speed and depth of its economic transformation. This research report suggests that the decentralisation of certain economic powers from central to provincial government has contributed to this success. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Financing Renewable Energy in Developing Countries: Mechanisms and Responsibilities

This paper reviews the instruments currently in use to finance renewable energy in developing countries,and considers those that have been proposed but not yet fully employed. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Preference-Matching and Violent Ethnic Conflict: The Heterogeneous Impact of Fiscal Decentralisation on Local Majorities and Local Minorities

Munich Personal RePEc Archive (2012)

Fiscal decentralization is widely proposed as an efficient means to accommodate ethnic violence. Yet while most of the econometric cross-country studies supports this view, case studies offer mixed results. The main argument in favour of fiscal decentralization is that by politically and fiscally empowering the local communities, these are enabled to allocate public spending in a way that is closer to their preferences. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Climate Finance: a tool-kit for assessing climate mitigation and adaptation funding mechanisms

The aim of this paper is to understand the changing landscape of climate finance and suggest a portfolio of mechanisms which would move us closer to the level of financing required to meet mitigation and adaptation costs in developing countries. More details

Cover image

Plateaus not Summits: Reforming Public Financial Management in Africa

Public Administration and Development 31.3 (2011)
IDS publications on international development research

The Economics of Terrorism from a Policy-Makers Perspective

Defence and Peace Economics 22.2 (2011)

This paper introduces a brief framework on the political decision-making process in the context of terrorism. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Why it Worked: Critical Success Factors of a Financial Reform Project in Africa

Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP 11-019 (2011)

Climate Finance in Bangladesh: Lessons for Development Cooperation and Climate Finance at National Level

As a key player, the European Union (EU) has stepped up and climate change has become an increasingly important component of its development cooperation effort. It has contributed most of the committed Fast Start Funds. More details

Climate Finance in Bangladesh: Ongoing Challenges

A discussion of the challenges to implementation of action on climate change for donors, for Government and for civil society which arise from funding, monitoring and planning constraints. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Does Better Local Governance Improve District Growth Performance in Indonesia

A large literature suggests that countries with better governance have higher growth rates. We explore whether this is also true at the sub-national level in Indonesia. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Future of Food and Farming: Final Project Report

Project aim: to explore the pressures on the global food system between now and 2050 and identify the decisions that policy makers need to take today, and in the years ahead, to ensure that a global population rising to nine billion or more can be fed sustainably and equitably. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Reforming Public Financial Management in Africa

Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP 10-048 (2010)
IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Is a Financial Transaction Tax a Good Idea? A Review of the Evidence

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 14.2 (2010)

IDS has undertaken a comprehensive review of the feasibility of financial transaction taxes (FTTs). We find that, worldwide, a financial transaction tax on foreign exchange transactions could raise US$26 billion. More details

IDS Working Paper

Estimating the National Impact of the Financial Crisis in Indonesia by Combining a Rapid Qualitative Study with Nationally Representative Surveys

IDS Working Paper 346 (2010)

This paper draws on a rapid qualitative assessment of the impact of the financial crisis in Indonesia, to generate hypotheses about the potential national impacts. More details