Research Themes


Urbanization and Development

Development Finance

Agriculture, Development and Natural Resources

Inequality, Poverty, Social Protection and Social Policy

Rule of Law, Governance, Institutions and Development

Human Capital Formation, Education and Development

Labor Markets, Employment and International Migration


The GDN Global Research Agenda is a central piece of GDN’s new strategy for three main reasons. First, the global research agenda plays the crucial role of providing the organization with a common intellectual ground on which to structure its capacity building activities as distinct parts of an articulated and cohesive whole. Second, prioritizing and fixing a global research agenda is a cost-effective way to harmonize programs, to articulate portfolio elements, and to secure the building up of a stock of knowledge in a predefined set of priority development themes across the developing world. Third, with a global research agenda at hand, GDN will be better equipped to play a leading intellectual role in the development knowledge architecture by better focusing its dissemination, outreach and resource mobilization efforts.

In this context, GDN envisages a core interdisciplinary research agenda focused on both macro and micro socioeconomic issues facing poor and developing nations, with research topics that are relevant and for which the goal of domestic research capacity building is important. By promoting this agenda, the domestic capacity to do that research will be fostered and nurtured more expeditiously.

The research topics/themes of the Global Research Agenda are predominantly the outcome of an important brainstorming workshop organized at Yale University in December 2010 and whose main purpose was to consult with a group of leading development experts in order to identify a set of priority development themes and their resulting enduring researchable questions to which research by a global network of economists and social scientists from the developing and transition countries could make a significant policy contribution. The design of a Global Research Agenda for GDN was also driven by the need to select research topics which: are researchable; will allow GDN to stay actively engaged in these topics for a rather long period; will bring developing country perspectives into the table; and will allow GDN to gradually build a comparative advantage in some of these topics.


A dynamic and forward-looking Global Research Agenda is a sine qua non condition for pursuing GDN’s research capacity building program at the global level.

Dr. George Mavrotas

GDN Ex-Chief Economist and Director, GDN Global Research Agenda