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Global Citizen Foundation, Towards a Better Global Economy Project – Research Program


Research Team

  • Professor Franklin Allen, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA: Global Finance
  • Professor Jere Behrman, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA: Human Development & Project Research Manager
  • Dr. Nancy Birdsall, Center for Global Development, Washington DC: Global Economic Governance
  • Professor Dani Rodrik, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA: Global Economic Growth
  • Dr. Andrew Steer, World Resources Institute, Washington DC: Resources, Earth Resources and Climate Change.
  • Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Peterson Institute, Washington DC: Global Trade & Technology

Project Coordinator

  • Dr. Shahrokh Fardoust, International Consultant, Former Director, Strategy & Operations, World Bank


The objective of the conference is to highlight longer-term implications, and the related policy options, for  citizens around the world of major developments in the global economy. Some of these developments are long ongoing.  But the 2008–09 crisis has changed the landscape in some important respects for finance, trade, and economic growth. The legacies of the crisis—high unemployment levels, massive excess capacities, and high debt levels—are likely to reduce the standard of living of millions of people in many countries over a long period of adjustment.

Going forward, demographic changes and fundamental forces of convergence and competition are likely to bring about massive shifts in both the sectoral and geographical composition of global output and employment, as the center of gravity of the global economy moves toward Asia. The global recovery could continue to be slow and to sputter, in part because of the uncoordinated and at times incompatible policies of the major economic powers, in part because of the massive new challenges stemming from increased income inequality, environmental degradation, and climate change. But there are also likely to be major opportunities due to factors such as enriched human development and new technological developments.

New challenges will require coordinated and collaborative policy responses, which will need to convene all legitimate institutions, old and new, to reach solutions that protect and improve the welfare of all global citizens. Large proportions of the population in both advanced and developing countries view current policy responses as inadequate and inherently unfair, yielding outcomes that favor the wealthy and powerful. New policies are urgently needed to accelerate economic growth, improve welfare, restore investor and household confidence, increase fairness in the global economy, and exploit new opportunities.

The “Towards a Better Global Economy” Research Project is designed to encourage researchers and practitioners around the world to find economic solutions to these concerns that favor global citizens. The ultimate goal of the project is to craft a set of policies that would be likely to lead to improvements in the economic well-being of all citizens of the world and to disseminate the results broadly in the hope of informing the debate about how the global economy best moves forward.

Toward these ends, the Project has brought together a small core group of leading economists with varied expertise in the academic, policy, and private sector worlds to guide this project through several stages. Members of this group, along with a group of leading experts who have reviewed and commented on the research results, have prepared analytical and policy reports, linked to one another through their concerns about economic growth and equity and welfare considerations of citizens, in the following areas (the lead researcher is shown in parentheses):

  • Global economic growth and macroeconomic development (Prof. Dani Rodrik)
  • Global quantity and quality of population and human development (Prof. Jere Behrman)
  • Global and national finance (Prof. Franklin Allen)
  • Global trade and technology (Dr. Arvind Subramanian)
  • Earth resources and climate change (Dr. Andrew Steer)
  • Global economic governance and institutions (Dr. Nancy Birdsall).

All of the studies consider a horizon that extends well into the 21st century and focus on equity and the welfare of  citizens. They have been prepared through team work and close collaboration of the Project’s research team members. Together with their policy recommendations, they will provide a framework for discussion and exchange of views at the conference.

The Project’s team of invited peer reviewers consists of Prof. Bernard Hoekman (European University Institute); Prof. Chang-Tai Hsieh (University of Chicago); Dr. Stijn Claessens (IMF); Dr. Kemal Dervis (Brookings Institution); Prof. Ronald Lee (University of California, Berkeley); Dr. Pratap Mehta (Center for Policy Research, Delhi); and Mr. Jeremy Opennheim (McKinsey & Company).

Members of the audience, which will number about 100, have been invited based on their interest and areas of expertise. They will include a mix of current and former policy makers, high-level academics, development experts, private sector leaders, journalists, and civil society representatives. An important goal of the conference is to initiate a dialogue among stakeholders on key issues facing global economy in order to find policy solutions to problems that affect  citizens across the world, leading to a better understanding of formation of citizens’ preferences and how they could be satisfied through policies based on greater economic and social justice. Participation of the invited guests in the discussion is encouraged as it will help determine how we go forward with the Project.

Papers on the six areas will be circulated (and posted on the Foundation’s website) at least one month before the conference. They will be presented by the lead authors and discussed by lead speakers, reviewers, and conference participants.

A roundtable panel discussion will cover key issues related to inequality, injustice, and weak governance and policies that could address these problems over the medium to long term. Conference participants will also discuss the project’s ongoing effort to hone its communications and engagement practices, including social and other media, which will be critical to its success. State-of-the art communications relevant to citizen engagement and consensus building will be considered as a way of gauging citizens’ preferences and their implications for the society’s social welfare under different economic policy options.

We look forward to welcoming you in Geneva in July.



  • Jere R. Behrman, Research Manager
  • William R. Kenan Jr., Professor of Economics & Sociology School of Arts and Sciences ,University of Pennsylvania
  • Dani Rodrik, Lead Researcher, Global Economic Growth
  • Rafiq Hariri, Professor of International Political Economy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Shahrokh Fardoust, Research Project Coordinator, Former Director, Strategy & Operations, Development Economics, the World Bank