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Ph.D candidate, Department of Economics, UC Berkeley
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Organized groups of individuals challenging the status quo are critical for institutional change and economic development patterns. This paper studies the 2011 student movement in Chile, the largest protest mobilization in the country’s history, in which hundreds of thousands of students skipped school to protest with the goal of reforming the educational system. Using administrative data on millions of students’ daily school attendance decisions on protest and non-protest days, a large network composed by the lifetime history of classmates, and differential network exposure to the first national protest, González employs an instrumental variables approach to test how networks affect protest behavior. The main finding is that individual participation follows a threshold model of collective behavior: students were influenced by their networks to skip school on protest days only when more than 40 percent of the members of their networks also skipped school. Additional findings show that protest participation imposed significant educational costs on students and helped to shift votes towards non-traditional opposition parties. Taken together, results indicate that networks amplify the effect of protests in non-linear ways with potentially significant consequences for institutional change.
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.