Innovative development finance: A critical analysis

Change log

This PhD investigates innovative development finance, a celebrated trend in development, arguing that, while there is potential, there are also important economic and political costs. Innovative development finance, which has emerged since the millennium, is situated at the intersection of the turn to private finance in development and the financialisation of development. This PhD develops and adopts a follow the money methodology, using critical financial analysis, to analyse three emblematic case studies of innovative development finance: the International Finance Facility for Immunisation, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, and The Currency Exchange. This PhD argues that innovative development finance initiatives make three core development claims: to leverage private finance, manage risk, and create markets. Conceptually, these interventions represent financial solutions to genuine development challenges. Following the money contributes a detailed empirical understanding of the economic and political consequences of the financialisation of development. In contrast to its core claims, innovative development finance fundamentally relies on public finance with no aid additionality, manages risk in a limited way and creates additional financial risks, supports existing financial markets, and is expensive with significant private profit opportunities. Politically, innovative development finance interventions represent technical financial solutions, which I suggest can be understood through the concept of ‘rendering financial?’, and are ruled by financial experts. The consequences are to de-politicise, financialise, and limit political control and accountability in development. The implications of these findings are significant. In the light of the economic and political costs of the financialisation of development, this PhD also touches on alternatives which deliver many of the same benefits with fewer costs.

Mawdsley, Emma
Development, Economic geography, Finance, Health
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
Economic and Social Research Council