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The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University and the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth (The Center) are collaborating on new research to promote sustainable economic growth in developing countries. 

Through MasterCard’s first-ever grant of commercial transaction data*, researchers at CID will be able to generate new insights on mobility, knowledge transfer, tourism and other themes that are key to promoting prosperity and inclusive growth.

The research is exploring the diffusion of knowledge or know-how by looking at international travel through the use of corporate payment cards. Firms spend money in order to visit suppliers, technology providers, customers, subsidiaries or headquarters, and financiers. These interactions leave a trail of spending, on travel and other expenses, and map human interaction that requires a physical presence.

“This grant is a game-changer,” said Ricardo Hausmann, director of CID and senior fellow at the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth. “This project opens up new areas of research and reveals important aspects of economic development that are hidden from analysis.” 

CID also hopes to gain an understanding into:

  • How does the tourism ecosystem get built up over time?
  • What towns and activities are directly impacted by tourism and what are its short and longer-term dynamics?
  • What determines which countries travel to which other countries for tourism?

By providing both actionable insights to help design stronger tourism ecosystems and clearer paths to accessing know-how, CID ultimately hopes to help build more inclusive economies, benefiting governments, businesses and millions of people.

*Such data includes amounts of transactions, number of transactions and merchants at which such transactions take place.  MasterCard does not receive and therefore does not provide name or contact information, and all data is subject to Harvard University's stringent confidentiality protections. CID will use the insights only for academic research purposes.