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Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science, Stanford University
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Why do some governments provide more public goods than others? Focusing on the case of public education, this article challenges the centrality given to the role of democracy and mass pressure for redistribution; and posits an alternative explanation rooted in the role of internal political disorder. The paper begins by documenting that, historically, in the vast majority of Latin American and European countries, public education systems emerged and achieved considerable expansion during non-democratic regimes and in the absence of popular demand for education. Why did political elites have an interest in setting up these costly systems in the absence of electoral incentives to do so? Based on historical evidence for select cases, Paglayan posits that instances of widespread internal political disorder such as civil wars propelled elites to use mass education as a means to instill values that would help prevent future rebellions against their authority. The statistical tests for this argument focus on assessing how a legacy of civil war impacts post-war investments in education provision. In analyses that exploit the regional concentration of civil war in Chile during the mid-nineteenth century, she shows that in the aftermath of the 1859 civil war—the causes of which had nothing to do with education provision—the central government made an unprecedented investment in mass schooling, and the expansion was greatest in those regions that had rebelled against the government. She also shows the generalizability of this argument with original data on education enrollment rates and civil war for Latin American and European countries beginning in 1830. Overall, the paper conceptualizes mass education less as a service for ordinary citizens and more as a tool used by political elites to consolidate power.
In outlining his vision for U.S. development assistance, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green has emphasized fidelity to an overarching purpose—ending its need to exist. Consistent with this objective, USAID has been developing a new strategic approach that seeks to more systematically orient its programming toward building countries’ capacity to plan, finance, and manage their own development. A key component of this “journey to self-reliance” framework is a set of metrics that will help assess each country’s progress along their journey. The metrics will help inform strategic planning around the nature of USAID’s partnership with the country, shape development dialogue, and help inform thinking about strategic transitions.
Five members of the Zimbabwe Working Group traveled to Harare May 20-25 to meet with the government, opposition leaders, and a wide range of business, religious, and civil society organizations to assess prospects for free and fair elections and for meaningful political and economic reform. Please join us to hear from the delegation as they share their findings and recommendations for US policy.
For over a decade, Boko Haram has waged a campaign of terror across northeastern Nigeria. In 2014, the kidnapping of 276 girls in Chibok shocked the world, giving rise to the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Yet Boko Haram’s campaign of violence against women and girls goes far beyond the Chibok abductions. From its inception, the group has systematically exploited women to advance its aims. Perhaps more disturbing still, some Nigerian women have chosen to become active supporters of the group, even sacrificing their lives as suicide bombers. These events cannot be understood without first acknowledging the long-running marginalization of women in Nigerian society. Having conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the region, Matfess provides a vivid and thought-provoking account of Boko Haram’s impact on the lives of Nigerian women, as well as the wider social and political context that fuels the group’s violence.
In Navigation by Judgment, Dan Honig argues that high-quality implementation of foreign aid programs often requires contextual information that cannot be seen by those in distant headquarters. Tight controls and a focus on reaching pre-set measurable targets often prevent front-line workers from using skill, local knowledge, and creativity to solve problems in ways that maximize the impact of foreign aid.