Research Programs

What constrains a particular country from growing? What is the best way to empower poor people to participate in markets, communities, or politics? How can social services work more effectively? How can sustainable development balance human needs with the capacity of the earth’s life support systems?

Citizens and governments around the world are facing these critical research questions which are motivated by the widening gaps in income, educational opportunities, healthcare access, clean environments and others between rich and poor countries. Seeking and applying answers to these questions is the focus of the Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University, a research hub that advances understanding of global development challenges.

The Center has established these core research programs and themes:

Building State Capability:

  • Improve capacity of governments to implement policies and programs.

Evidence for Policy Design:

  • Contribute new knowledge on how to reduce poverty and promote more effective governance in low-income countries through smart policy design.

Growth Lab:

  • Change the way in which growth strategies are designed.

As a university-wide center, CID draws upon faculty, staff, and researchers from many schools and disciplines -- from economics and public health to education and physics -- engaging directly with governments and policy makers to inform policy decisions and increase prosperity in all regions of the globe.

Research is disseminated through a number of different and important channels:

Working Paper Series
CID manages a Faculty Working Paper Series with research articles by CID faculty affiliates and provides an opportunity for Fellows and Graduate students to post their research in the CID Fellows' and Students' Working Paper Series.

CID works closely with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education program on two courses: A Cutting Edge of Development Thinking and Leading Economic Growth. CID engages the next generation of development leaders through inputs to the Kennedy School curriculum and field opportunities for Masters and PhD level students. It has close ties to the Master’s of Public Administration in International Development.

During the semester, CID hosts the weekly Graduate Student Luncheon Seminar, where academics and practitioners speak on current development issues. CID also hosts conferences on a variety of topics, including the annual Global Empowerment Meeting(GEM).

CID Faculty and Fellows are regularly profiled in both domestic and international media, quoted in both technical and policy articles, and do their own writing for both op-eds and blogs. CID also features content on its social media channels.