Economic Development

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Economic development includes a host of issues—including energy supply; technology; and access to jobs, food, water, education, health care, and housing—that are fundamental to improving the economic status of communities and transforming impoverished nations. RAND takes a multidisciplinary approach to investigating opportunities for economic development, modeling future trends, and applying objective analysis to recommend policy solutions for global, national, and local economies.

  • Women work on a production line at a mobile phone factory in Assuit, Egypt, September 30, 2018, photo by Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

    Commentary

    Economic Recovery in Egypt Should Include Women

    May 11, 2020

    Despite tremendous strides in educational attainment, women's engagement in the labor force in Egypt remains limited. Will Egypt's post-pandemic recovery further exacerbate structural barriers and inequities? Or could the current economic crisis be an opportunity to develop new opportunities to employ women and foster conditions for a more inclusive and diversified labor force?

  • Residents carry boxes of free groceries distributed at a pop-up food pantry by the Massachusetts Army National Guard in Chelsea, Massachusetts, April 24, 2020, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Second Wave of COVID Consequences

    Apr 24, 2020

    Economists closely watch measures of consumer confidence because they are highly predictive economic indicators. New consumer data reveals likely long-term and prolonged economic fallout.

Explore Economic Development

  • A woman stands on a ruined building after Hurricane Eta, in Wawa Bar, a Miskito indigenous community in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, November 23, 2020, photo by Katlyn Holland/CRS /Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Previous Disasters Provide Important Lessons for Central America's Recovery from Hurricanes

    As the global community works together to assist Central America in recovering from the disastrous 2020 hurricane season, experiences from other recent disaster recovery efforts offer some helpful lessons, both for the governments of the region as well as outsiders providing resources and support.

    Jan 11, 2021

  • Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and China's Premier Li Keqiang shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China July 4, 2019, photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Isn't Backing Down in South Asia

    Much to India's frustration, China's influence is on the rise across South Asia. India will probably have to work overtime, and in concert with like-minded partners such as Australia, Japan, and the United States to complicate and rein in China's successes in the region.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • A consignment of USAID medical equipment is offloaded at the Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, August 24, 2014, photo by James Giahyue/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why We 'Send Them Money'

    Why does the United States send foreign countries American taxpayer money? The answer, in short, is because it serves U.S. self-interest to do so. Aid is not some act of charity at the American taxpayers' expense; it can help keep Americans safer, more prosperous, and secure.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • People walk near India Gate on a smoggy afternoon in New Delhi, India, November 15, 2020, photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Curb Climate Change After COVID-19? Fast-Growing India and Brazil Are Key

    India and Brazil are facing pressure to launch recoveries after the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. Will they backslide on their Paris climate agreement commitments, or will the expected return of the United States to the pact encourage them to build a more sustainable economic future?

    Dec 15, 2020

  • Empty Wallet

    Multimedia

    Income Distribution in the United States: How It’s Changed Since the 1970s

    RAND senior mathematician Carter Price describes how income distribution and the sharing of economic growth has changed since the 1970s.

    Nov 11, 2020

  • Laos Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith (L) and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi following a meeting in Beijing, China, August 3, 2016, photo by Rolex Dela Pena/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vietnam Is Losing Its Best Friends to China

    The wide range of Chinese activities with Cambodia and Laos must be jarring for Vietnamese leaders. China has eclipsed Vietnam in Indochina, and that means that Hanoi's angst will only continue to rise in its own backyard. Vietnam will likely have to find alternative means of engaging Cambodia and Laos to combat Chinese influence in this critical region in the years to come.

    Nov 2, 2020

  • Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Sochi, Russia, February 15, 2019, photo by Sergei Chirikov/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Belarusian Mortgage on Russia's Future

    In September, President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia was throwing its weight behind embattled Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. But any move to enforce Putin's will in Belarus could invite tougher Western sanctions and scare investors. This would exacerbate problems facing Russia's flagging economy.

    Oct 5, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Challenges and Opportunities for the Puerto Rico Economy: A Review of Evidence and Options Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017

    The authors review Puerto Rico's economic history and provide analysis following the 2017 hurricane season that serves as the context for a set of principles and actions in the recovery plan for rebuilding a healthy economy.

    Sep 30, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Supporting a 21st Century Workforce in Puerto Rico: Challenges and Options for Improving Puerto Rico's Workforce System Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017

    A workforce development system that supports Puerto Rico's economic development requires a K through postsecondary education system that emphasizes individuals' career pathways and aligns training with the evolving labor market and business needs.

    Sep 30, 2020

  • People line up outside a career center, hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claims, Frankfort, Kentucky, June 18, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is the U.S. Stuck with a Fixed Add-On for Unemployment?

    When COVID-19 led to millions of Americans losing their jobs, Congress moved to increase unemployment benefits by $600 a week. What should happen when those extra benefits expire?

    Jul 23, 2020

  • Street sign with Wall St. and Main St. signs, photo by BobHemphill/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Tale of Two Americas

    Economic pain in the United States is obvious and palpable everywhere except in the stock market. This spotlights inequality that has been increasing for decades. Undoing disparities will require firm policy commitment over many years.

    Jul 9, 2020

  • A compilation of signs on doors of temporarily closed restaurants and shops in central Maastricht, Netherlands, March 16, 2020, photo by Francois Lenoir/Reuters

    Commentary

    Small Businesses Need the Right Kind of Help to Survive COVID-19

    Small and medium-sized companies are less equipped than large ones to weather the devastating effects of the pandemic. What could policymakers do to help these businesses get the help they need?

    Jun 26, 2020

  • The grill is nearly empty at dinner hour at Ben's Chili Bowl during the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington, D.C., April 30, 2020, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Path to Recovery from COVID-19 for Small Businesses

    The COVID-19 pandemic has hammered small businesses around the United States. We spoke with 21 small business owners to learn more about the challenges they are facing and how they might best be helped.

    Jun 25, 2020

  • People stacking hands together in the park, photo by Rawpixel/Getty Images

    Commentary

    What Elinor Ostrom Teaches Us About Avoiding the 'Tragedy of the Commons' in Delivering the Public Interest in the Post COVID-19 World

    The public interest can be an elusive concept, especially when trying to distinguish between shared and individual interests, a problem brought into sharper focus as we try to find the right path to a post COVID-19 world. Governments are seeking to do the best for their societies with limited information. As more data is being acquired, how can public policy achieve common interest?

    Jun 22, 2020

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping raises his glass and proposes a toast at the end of his speech during the welcome banquet, after the welcome ceremony of leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 26, 2019, photo by Nicolas Asfour/Reuters

    Journal Article

    What China Wants in South Asia

    This brief outlines the issues facing different South Asian countries with respect to their relationships with China.

    Jun 12, 2020

  • A man speaks with a library worker after receiving an unemployment form in Miami Beach, Florida, April 8, 2020, photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

    Commentary

    38 Million Have Applied for Unemployment. But How Many Have Received Benefits?

    Unemployment Insurance may need substantial reform to its application process, but it has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment disaster. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the new program intended for workers who are not part of the employer tax base, has not.

    Jun 1, 2020

  • As phase one of reopening begins in Northern Virginia, a waitress with a face mask serves diners at a restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, May 29, 2020, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Wealth Gap Widens

    Whether history considers the current downturn a recession or a depression, it will reinforce the growing inequality in the United States. Navigating this crisis without substantially increasing inequality would require an unwavering commitment to support displaced workers and small-business owners.

    Jun 1, 2020

  • Polygonal image of COVID-19 virus superimposed on a digital world map, photo by Andrii Pokliatskyi/Getty Images

    Blog

    Global Challenges to Maintaining a Healthy Workforce During a Pandemic: Views from RAND Experts

    As nations across the globe remain in lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about the future of employment and workforce productivity emerge. During a recent webinar, RAND experts discussed how to get people back to work and improve productivity post COVID-19.

    May 15, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to Finnish President Sauli Niinisto during their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, August 22, 2018, photo by Pavel Golovkin/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Russia Struggles to Feed Its Great-Power Addiction

    Russia has become less cooperative and pursued more autarky in recent years. If Moscow continues on a path of resisting globalization, it could be left behind.

    May 11, 2020