Research priorities

The IGC issues a regular call for proposals. The current call for proposals is closed, but details on future calls will be published soon.

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We support research with clear policy implications to promote structural change and inclusive growth in developing countries. While these are macroeconomic phenomena, they are ultimately the result of microeconomic transformations. The goal of the IGC’s research programme is to understand why these microeconomic processes play out differently across countries and to identify policies that can accelerate transformation. We focus on four key transformations: in the capabilities of firms and the functioning of markets, in the capacity of the state, in the organisation of urban areas, and in the provision of energy:

Firms, trade, and productivity: This theme seeks to identify the set of policies that can unleash the potential of firms and increase productivity in developing countries. We think of this transition as arising from three types of transformations: (i) in the capabilities of firms, (ii) in the functioning of markets, and (iii) in the interaction of firms with world markets.

State effectiveness: This theme seeks to understand why states are less effective in developing countries, and what policies can strengthen state capabilities to promote inclusive growth. The three pillars of this research agenda are: (i) how can states escape fragility? (ii) what should the state do to promote pro-poor growth and hasten poverty reduction? and (iii) how can the state mobilise domestic resources, build effective bureaucracies and make state expenditures more impactful?

Cities: This theme seeks to understand how the positive externalities generated by cities in developing countries can be harnessed while minimising the negative impact of high density. The three questions for research are: (i) how can cities promote agglomeration economies, become more productive and inclusive? (ii) how can the challenges that come with high urban density be addressed? (iii) how can structural models inform the design of transportation and land policies for cities?

Energy and environment: This theme seeks to understand how energy policy can promote economic development in developing countries. The three main areas of research are: (i) energy access: how will the last billion get access to energy, and what benefits will it bring for their livelihoods? (ii) global externalities from energy consumption: what are the most effective policies for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change ? (iii) local externalities from energy consumption: in countries with weak enforcement capacity, how can regulations reduce the local harms from pollution?

For a more detailed research agenda for each theme, please see the IGC Research Strategy.

We also provide a mapping of thematic priorities across all IGC countries here.

For more detailed IGC countries research priorities, see here.

For a review of the literature on each of our four themes of research, see our draft ‘Evidence Papers’ for each of our four themes: firms, trade, and productivitystate effectivenesscities; and energy and environment.