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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.
Every year, more than 5 million women, children and adolescents die from preventable conditions, due to a significant financing gap for healthcare for women, children and adolescents, and inadequate incentives for provision and use of quality health services, among other factors. The Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child is a new approach to sustainable global health financing that is supporting countries’ approaches to financing and investing in the health of their people.
Many practitioners and researchers are grappling with how to better measure women’s and girls’ empowerment in impact evaluations. Which approaches to measuring a complex social outcome like decision-making power should we use, and can we improve on our existing models? When should we use internationally standardized survey questions and when is it better to develop locally tailored ones? Can non-survey instruments pick up useful information that surveys can’t, and when should we think about using them?
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.