After completing his PhD in economics at MIT in 1974, David taught for two years at the National University of Zaire in Kinshasa. He joined the economics faculty at Boston University in 1976, and taught there until he joined the World Bank in 1990. While on the BU faculty, he was a visiting professor in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (1978-79), a co-founder and principal of the Boston Institute for Developing Economies (1987-1990), and Jakarta field director of the Development Studies Project for BAPPENAS, Indonesia’s Planning Ministry (1987-1989).
David has published extensively on issues related to climate change, natural resource conservation, public disclosure of pollution, sustainable development indicators, human resource development, international investment, African infrastructure development and the allocation of development aid. From 1993-2006, as a Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Development Research Group, he directed a team that worked on environmental policy and research issues in collaboration with policymakers and academics in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Ghana and other developing countries. He also worked on priority-setting for country lending, grants and technical assistance with the World Bank’s Vice Presidency for Operations Policy and Country Services, the World Bank’s Environment Department, and the Global Environment Facility. David directed the technical team that developed the biodiversity index for the GEF’s Resource Allocation Framework. During his last two years at the Bank, he and his colleagues initiated a climate change program in the Development Research Group, as well as collaborating with the Bank’s Africa Region on a cost-effective strategy for road network upgrading in Sub-Saharan Africa.
After joining the Center for Global Development in 2006, David led CGD’s program on climate change and development. His research and policy work focused on issues related to climate change, particularly public disclosure of carbon emissions, regulation of emissions from the energy sector, the economics of adaptation to climate change, and carbon accounting for international development institutions. While he was at CGD, David collaborated with Kevin Ummel in developing CARMA (Carbon Monitoring for Action), and with Dan Hammer and Robin Kraft in developing FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action).