Cambridge, MA, January 23, 2015 – The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University and the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth today announced a new project to enrich ongoing research into economic growth in developing countries. Through MasterCard’s first-ever data grant, researchers at CID hope to identify how countries can create jobs by enhancing their tourism industries and the flow of business "know-how."

"This exciting collaboration – which brings together rich data and the analysis of the CID research team – will offer a unique understanding of the forces shaping economies and the strategies available for creating truly shared growth in specific countries and regions," said Harvard Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood.

The grant will provide data derived from commercial card transactions. The information will not be individually identifiable, and all data is subject to standard university protections. CID will use the insights only for this research, securely and confidentially maintaining the data.  

"Understanding the drivers of inclusive growth can help redefine the economic future of millions of people around the world," said Walt Macnee, vice chairman of MasterCard and president of the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth. "A thorough scholarly analysis of this data can help develop valuable new insights to address one of the most challenging issues of our time."

For many developing countries, tourism is an important industry that provides greater job opportunities and boosts overall national income. However, a broad set of services and infrastructure are necessary to attract international travelers. Inclusive economic development also requires long-term sharing of knowledge, skills and technologies. While the flow of tangible goods and capital are easily observed, much less is known about the interaction between businesspeople in different cities.  

"This grant is a game-changer," said Ricardo Hausmann, director of the Center for International Development and senior fellow at the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth. "This project opens up new areas of research and reveals important aspects of economic development that lay hidden from analysis."

The data will offer a real-world view into several aspects of tourism industries and a better picture of business connections between multiple countries. CID researchers will be able to explore, with high frequency and detail, the origin and destination of international travelers to developing countries and their spending patterns.

By providing actionable insights to help design stronger tourism ecosystems and clearer paths to accessing know-how, CID ultimately hopes to help build more inclusive economies, benefiting governments, businesses and millions of people.

About the Center for International Development
The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University is a university-wide center that works to advance the understanding of development challenges and offer viable solutions to problems of global poverty. The CID is Harvard’s leading research hub focusing on resolving the dilemmas of public policy associated with generating stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity in developing countries. Our ongoing mission is to apply knowledge to and revolutionize the world of development practice.

Contact: Chuck McKenney
Phone: 617-495-8496

About the Master Card Center for Inclusive Growth
The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, a non-profit organization, was created to foster collaborative relationships between academia, governments, nonprofits, the social design community, and the private sector. Through the advancement of research and strategic philanthropic investments, we support and enable those historically excluded from financial services and serve as a catalyst for change. Follow us on Twitter @CNTR4growth.

Contact: Ryan Erenhouse
Phone: (914) 249-3176