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Legal empowerment of the poor, education, Africa, evaluating aid effectiveness
Justin Sandefur is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Prior to joining CGD, he spent two years as an adviser to Tanzania's national statistics office and worked as a research officer at Oxford University's Centre for the Study of African Economies. His research focuses on a wide range of topics, including education, poverty reduction, legal reform, and democratic governance.
For this edition of the CGD Podcast I’m joined by Savedoff and Sandefur (who also leads our education research through the RISE project); they give a sneak peak of their contributions to, and offer an assessment of, the Learning Generation report.
The United States is pushing to re-elect the World Bank’s twelfth consecutive American president. Does he deserve another term? Both lending growth and project performance at the Bank appear weak by historical standards, but evaluating a bank with no profit motive is inherently difficult.
Even the most ardent defenders of democracy sometimes worry that populist pressure may lead to short-sighted (or populist) economic policy choices. So after polling 2,000 ordinary Tanzanians in 2015 about their views on the use of expected natural gas revenue, we decided to follow up with an experiment polling Tanzanian “elites,” to see whether they are aligned with citizens, or could be swayed by citizens’ views.
Measuring the returns to government capital is difficult because the services of government capital typically are provided free of charge. This implies that, unlike returns to private factors of production, returns to government capital cannot be inferred from observed factor payments.
Somewhere in a village in Nigeria, a young girl is sitting in school today, just like she does every day, packed onto a crowded wooden bench in a faded school uniform. She represents a victory in the global effort to get all children learning, and her presence will be recorded as progress in the global databases maintained by UNESCO and the World Bank. There's just one catch. She's not learning anything.
This set includes the household survey data, standardized test score data, and the Stata files to replicate the results in CGD Working Paper 271, "Why Did Abolishing Fees Not Increase Public School Enrollment in Kenya?"
We just ran 23 million queries of the World Bank's website. Technically, a piece of computer code did the work, occupying a PC in an empty cubicle in our office for about 9 weeks, gradually sweeping up nearly every bit of information available in the World Bank’s global database on poverty and inequality, known as PovcalNet.