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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.
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.
The Center for Global Development and the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development will co-host a conversation with David Cameron, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Donald Kaberuka, High Representative on the African Union Peace Fund, distinguished visiting fellow at CGD, and former President of the African Development Bank, and Jennifer Widner, professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and a member of the Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development, to discuss the need for a new global approach to state fragility. The Fragility Commission, which Cameron and Kaberuka chair, will be launching its report, Escaping the Fragility Trap, which makes the case for urgent action and outlines recommendations for how domestic and international actors can do things differently.
One-quarter of the world’s school-age children live in East Asia and the Pacific. In the past 50 years, some economies in the region have successfully transformed themselves by investing in the knowledge, skills, and abilities of their workforce. Through policy foresight, they have produced graduates with new levels of knowledge and skills almost as fast as industries have increased their demand for them. Yet, tens of millions of students in the region are in school but not learning. In fact, as many as 60 percent of students remain in systems that are struggling to escape the global learning crisis or in systems where performance is likely poor.
Since the early 2000s, Latin America has become increasingly integrated with the global economy, liberalizing trade and opening its capital account. These initiatives were prompted by the assumption that advanced economies would not impose barriers to the cross-border movement of goods and services. But today, a rising wave of protectionism not seen since the Great Depression challenges this assumption.
With this new reality as the backdrop, the Latin American Committee on Macroeconomic and Financial Issues (CLAAF) will be meeting in Washington, DC to discuss how to tackle these emerging global economic challenges. Members of this committee include former finance ministers, former central bank governors, and other high-level economic officials and academics from across Latin America.