Drop the Debt? Dilemmas Confronting the Design of Development Aid and Debt Relief

How should the World Bank and IMF defend their decision to forgive the debts of the poorest countries?
Marc Giannoni, Charles Himmelberg  | Winter 2008
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It is 2005, and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are about to announce what will prove to be a controversial agreement: the cancellation of debts held by Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) with few resources. Leaders at the Bank and IMF hope that many anti-poverty activists will support their plan, yet they are also anticipating a backlash from across the political spectrum. In this case, students confront the ethical, moral, and practical questions of debt forgiveness, and evaluate the success of past and recent development proposals to eliminate global poverty.

Case ID: 080323

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