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In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
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 recent years, cash transfer programming (CTP) has emerged as one of the most significant innovations in international humanitarian assistance. The Cash Learning Partnership estimates that $2.8 billion was spent on cash and voucher programming in 2016, up 40% from 2015 and nearly double since 2014. Cash and voucher programming has demonstrated positive outcomes in addressing food security, access to education, healthcare, and economic recovery, in addition to supporting choice and dignity among affected populations.
Pascale Hélène Dubois will discuss the global impact of World Bank investigation and prevention activities and then join a panel with Kathrin Frauscher, Deputy and Program Director, Open Contracting Partnership and Hasan Tuluy, Partnership for Transparency Board Director, former World Bank Vice President, to dive deeper into what more can be done at the World Bank and other international institutions to combat corruption.
Over 1 billion women lack access to financial services due to economic and social barriers, time and mobility constraints, and discrimination in service provision. Financial services delivered digitally can address these barriers by providing women with safe and accessible channels. This event will look at the recent evidence and emerging technologies that work to empower women economically.
The United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) bold four-year Strategic Plan sets out to deliver solutions to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and build resilience to crises in order to help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda. But as the UN system grapples with funding challenges, as private finance is further mobilized for development, and as technological advances shape the development landscape, what is UNDP’s comparative advantage? We look forward to discussing these issues with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and key stakeholders.
Given the changing global landscape, development finance – rather than aid – is poised to be the future of development. The spotlight is increasingly on Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to be catalysts in mobilizing needed financing. At a time when their record on development finance mobilization and development impact is still debated, they are nevertheless being asked to play a critical role in helping to fill huge financing gaps associated with meeting the SDGs. Several countries have established new DFIs and others are considering expanding DFI operations.
Corruption can siphon desperately needed resources away from development, but as some anti-corruption advocates have found, taking on vested interests can come at a great personal risk to their livelihoods—or even their lives. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s new book, Fighting Corruption Is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines, draws on her years as Nigeria’s Finance Minister to provide practical lessons on the difficult, sometimes-dangerous, always-necessary work of fighting graft and corruption.
Most countries in Latin America are currently reporting fiscal deficits and many have increased their external debt ratios. This has refocused attention on whether the region’s resilience to external shocks has deteriorated, and it has raised questions about Latin America’s ability to reignite growth and support development efforts.
Technological advances in fields such as artificial intelligence and automation have the potential to fundamentally alter prevailing economic trends. While the effects of these changes are the subject of great debate in the developed world, less discussed has been how they will impact the developing world. Speakers will explore what emerging technologies mean for both the traditional models of development and the future of job creation in developing countries.