Nancy Birdsall is a senior fellow and president emeritus of the Center for Global Development, having served as founding president for its first 15 years from 2001-2016. Her current research areas include the roles and financing of the multilateral development banks; climate finance; inequality and the middle class in developing countries; and the long-run effect of modern contraception on women's economic empowerment.
From 1993 to 1998, Birdsall served as executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank, the largest of the regional development banks, where she oversaw a $30 billion public and private loan portfolio. Before that she worked for 14 years in research, policy, and management positions at the World Bank, including as director of the Policy Research Department. Prior to launching the Center, she served for three years as senior associate and director of the Economic Reform Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where her work focused on globalization, inequality and the reform of the international financial institutions.
She is the author, co-author, or editor of more than a dozen books and many scholarly papers. Her most recent publications include Cash on Delivery: A New Approach to Foreign Aid and New Ideas on Development after the Financial Crisis, co-edited with Francis Fukuyama. Shorter pieces of her writing have appeared in dozens of US and Latin American newspapers and periodicals. Birdsall received her PhD in economics from Yale University and an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.