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CGD's work in this area seeks to better understand the sources of global learning gaps and to identify solutions to help close these gaps.
While primary school enrolment levels have increased dramatically in recent decades, this progress has not been matched by equivalent gains in learning. Millions of children in the developing world leave school without basic literacy and numeracy skills. CGD seeks to better understand what causes this learning gap and to identify policies and ideas to help end the global learning crisis.
Accountability in school systems is essential to deliver better learning and accelerate progress in developing countries. What is still really lacking—and what RISE is working towards—is a coherent and complete analytical framework capturing the key elements of a system of school accountability that can explain the divergent experiences we have seen in school reform.
In CGD’s last blog post on the new strategy, we commended the US government for leading the charge for adolescent girls—by issuing the first-ever country strategy specifically focused on the demographic. But how do we make sure that this articulated commitment continues to get translated into concrete action? What can MCC specifically contribute? One opportunity may lie in MCC’s country scorecards.
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.
The Washington Area Development Economics Symposium (WADES) is an annual research conference which highlights academic work from researchers at leading economics institutions in development economics in the Washington DC area. Researchers from George Washington University, University of Maryland, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Virginia, the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), American University, George Mason University, and the Center for Global Development are all participants in the symposium.
In this paper Patricia Navarro-Palau studies the effects of an increase in school choice by examining a 2008 reform that made the value of Chile's (previously flat, universal) school voucher a step function of student income. This policy increased the proportion of private schools that low income, eligible children could access free of charge from 0.5 to 0.7. She identifies the impact of the policy by combining its introduction with variation from a date of birth enrollment cutoff for 1st grade. She shows that the differentiated voucher lowered the probability that students used public schools by a small fraction and that these students shifted out of low achievement public schools to enroll in low achievement private schools.