Imagine an economically thriving and democratic middle-income country that has achieved near universal primary school enrollment, tripled percentage of total government expenditure on education since 2000 (in real terms), and roughly doubled teacher salaries. You would think all is well, right? But new measures of learning progress show low absolute and marginal learning as students are promoted from grade to grade.
CGD Policy Blogs
Eighteen months ago, we blogged here about Kenya’s superfast electricity connection rate. The country had grown from 27 percent to 55 percent access in just three years, putting themselves on a fast-track toward near universal access by 2020. While this lightning progress was exciting, new research suggests that aggressive expansion may come with downsides, too.
Time to Deliver: New Ebola Findings Highlight the Need to Improve Evidence and Interventions for Pregnant Women
On July 23, an outbreak report in The Lancet Infectious Diseases documented the case of a female Ebola survivor who transmitted the virus to family members more than year later. This raises new questions about how pregnancy may impact the presentation of Ebola virus disease (EVD), not just for women in the near term but across multiple pregnancies, and potentially as the source of new outbreaks.
The International Finance Corporation wants to increase support for both private sector-led development and fragile states. But how viable are these goals?
Amid much discussion of SDG finance gaps, DFIs, both bilateral and multilateral, are in the spotlight as the most important publicly funded instruments for mobilising private capital. Yet, there is a surprising lack of clarity on what we can and should expect from DFIs, beyond broad goals of profitability and development impact.
Measuring empowerment is a perennial challenge for those of us evaluating programs targeting women. Last Wednesday’s launch of J-PAL’s new Practical Guide to Measuring Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in Impact Evaluations at CGD was an exciting opportunity be inspired by impact evaluation powerhouse Rachel Glennerster, the former Executive Director of J-PAL and current Chief Economist at DFID, while simultaneously getting a bit discouraged about the quality of existing quantitative measures of empowerment. Here are a few takeaways for economists doing impact evaluations.
The Proposed SDG Indicator on Illicit Financial Flows Risks Conflating Ordinary Business and Dirty Money
“Illicit financial flows” means dirty money crossing borders. It is an umbrella term which covers diverse actors including organised crime groups, business people making bribes, political leaders engaging in grand corruption, and major tax evaders hiding undeclared wealth. What they all have in common is that what they are doing is illegal (although they may be getting away with it), and they often use opaque international networks of legal entities, bank accounts, and property holdings to facilitate and store ill-gotten gains. There is a clear development case for rich countries to act to prevent their financial systems being used as havens for illicit financial flows that harm developing countries.
Whether you want to take an in-depth look at the human smuggling industry, find out how a Mars rover works, or beat the heat with a vivid depiction of a Cornish Winter, you're sure to find something here to round out your summer reading list.
Myths, Challenges, and (Maybe?) a Consensus around Commercial Confidentiality in Government Contracts: Grist for a New CGD Working Group
Last week, the Open Contracting Partnership released a new report, Mythbusting Confidentiality in Public Contracting, during the Open Government Partnership meetings in Georgia. The report is a fascinating and helpful read, based on a review of recent contract publication practices in eight countries as well as legal frameworks in another seven.
Last week, the World Meteorological Organization announced Ethiopia as the location of its new Regional Office for Africa. The office will be hosted in the headquarters of Ethiopia’s National Meteorological Agency, a one billion birr complex expected to be constructed over the next few years to meet increasing demands in Africa for reliable weather and climate services.