Nancy Birdsall

Nancy Birdsall is the Center for Global Development’s founding president.

From 1993 to 1998, she was executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank, the largest of the regional development banks, where she oversaw a $30 billion public and private loan portfolio. Before that she worked 14 years in research, policy, and management positions at the World Bank, including as director of the Policy Research Department. Prior to launching the Center, she served for three years as Senior Associate and Director of the Economic Reform Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where her work focused on globalization, inequality and the reform of the international financial institutions.

She is the author, co-author, or editor of more than a dozen books and many scholarly papers. Her most recent publications include Cash on Delivery: A New Approach to Foreign Aid and New Ideas on Development after the Financial Crisis, co-edited with Francis Fukuyama. Shorter pieces of her writing have appeared in dozens of U.S. and Latin American newspapers and periodicals. Birdsall received her Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Content by Nancy Birdsall
  • Blog post

    The political paradox of cash transfers

    Impact evaluations show cash transfers are effective. But polls show Tanzanians would rather have government services. This is the second post in a three-part blog series on political transparency of natural resource management.  Cash transfers are all the rage among international development experts, and for good reason. In Tanzania, which is our focus...

    25 Aug 2016 | Justin Sandefur, Nancy Birdsall, Mujobu Moyo

  • Blog post

    Can deliberative democracy cure Tanzania's resource curse?

    Experts worry letting ordinary citizens manage resource windfalls will lead to populism. We ran a randomised trial in deliberative democracy in Tanzania to find out. This is the first post in a three-part blog series on political transparency of natural resource management and has a related podcast.  Are low-income democracies doomed to squander their natural...

    24 Aug 2016 | Justin Sandefur, Mujobu Moyo, Nancy Birdsall