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Digital identification: A key to inclusive growth

Digital identification, or “digital ID,” can be authenticated unambiguously through a digital channel, unlocking access to banking, government benefits, education, and many other critical services. Programs employing this relatively new technology have had mixed success to date—many have failed to attain even modest levels of usage, while a few have achieved large-scale implementation. Yet well-designed digital ID not only enables civic and social empowerment, but also makes possible real and inclusive economic gains—a less well understood aspect of the technology. The political risks and benefits of digital ID are potentially significant and deserve careful attention but are beyond the scope of this report. Here, we develop a framework to understand the potential economic impact of digital ID, informed by an analysis of nearly 100 ways in which digital ID can be used in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States.