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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.
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.
As part of the G7 meetings, Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau will host a meeting of G7 Development Ministers – the first of its kind since 2010. In preparation for that meeting, Minister Bibeau will join the Center for Global Development to discuss the priorities for this global development summit. In particular, she will discuss the importance of advancing the empowerment of adolescent girls including their central role in eradicating poverty and the need to move towards gender-responsive approaches to humanitarian assistance.
Intensive and potentially unethical marketing of infant formula is believed to be responsible for millions of infant deaths in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), yet to date there have been no rigorous analyses that quantify these effects. Paul Gertler and colleagues drew on a sample of 2.48 million births in 46 countries, indicating that the introduction of Nestlé infant formula, the largest supplier worldwide, may have resulted in approximately 66,000 infant deaths in LMICs in 1981—the peak of the infant formula controversy—among households without clean water access. This suggests that unclean water inappropriately mixed into formula acted as a vector for the transmission of water-borne pathogens to infants.
Economic recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is gaining momentum, but more work is needed to ensure growth is both sustainable and inclusive. Looking ahead, activity is expected to gather further momentum—reflecting stronger demand at home and a supportive external environment. But there are still challenges ahead. Risks to the region’s outlook reflect internal factors as well as heightened external risks—notably, a shift towards more protectionist policies and a sudden tightening of global financial conditions. Additionally, longer-term growth prospects for Latin America and the Caribbean remain subdued.
Each year, delegations representing all World Health Organization (WHO) Member States attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) to determine the policies and budget of the organization. In advance of this year's WHA, the Center for Global Development will convene a curtain-raiser event to highlight topics and controversies on the WHA agenda -- from universal health coverage (UHC) and its measurement to the role WHO might play vis-à-vis global partnerships and funders and the alignment of global priorities.
During the early 1990s Germany received over half a million Yugoslavians fleeing war. By 2000, many of these refugees were repatriated. In their new paper, Dany Bahar and his co-authors exploit this episode to provide causal evidence on the role migrants play in contributing to productivity shifts in their home countries after their return, as explained by changes in comparative advantage.