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  • Author: Maryam Akmal, Lant Pritchett
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for education include the goal that “all youth...achieve literacy and numeracy” (Target 4.6). Achieving some absolute standard of learning for all children is a key element of global equity in education. Using the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) data from India and Pakistan, and Uwezo data from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda that test all children of given ages, whether in school or not, on simple measures of learning in math, reading (local language), and English, we quantify the role of achieving equality between the richest 20% and the poorest 40% in terms of grade attainment and learning achievement toward accomplishing the global equity goal of universal numeracy and literacy for all children. First, excluding Kenya, equalizing grade attainment between children from rich and poor households would only close between 8% (India) and 25% (Pakistan) of the gap to universal numeracy, and between 8% (Uganda) and 28% (Pakistan) of the gap to universal literacy. Second, children from the poorest 40% of households tend to have lower performance in literacy and numeracy at each grade. If such children had the learning profiles of children from rich households, we would close between 16% (Pakistan and Uganda) and 34% (India) of the gap to universal numeracy, and between 13% (Uganda) and 44% (India) of the gap to universal literacy. This shows that the “hidden exclusion” (WDR, 2018) of lower learning at the same grade levels—a gap that emerges in the earliest grades—is a substantial and often larger part of the equity gap compared to the more widely documented gaps in enrollment and grade attainment. Third, even with complete equality in grade attainment and learning achievement, children from poor households would be far from the equity goal of universal numeracy and literacy, as even children from the richest 20% of households are far from universal mastery of basic reading and math by ages 12-13. Achieving universal literacy and numeracy to accomplish even a minimal standard of global absolute equity will require more than just closing the rich-poor learning gap, it will take progress in learning for all.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Sustainable Development Goals, Language
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Kenya, Africa, Middle East, India, Asia, Tanzania
  • Author: Gabriel Demombynes, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The lack of reliable development statistics for many poor countries has led the U.N. to call for a “data revolution” (United Nations, 2013). One fairly narrow but widespread interpretation of this revolution is for international aid donors to fund a coordinated wave of household surveys across the developing world, tracking progress on a new round of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. We use data from the International Household Survey Network (IHSN) to show (i) the supply of household surveys has accelerated dramatically over the past 30 years and that (ii) demand for survey data appears to be higher in democracies and more aid-dependent countries. We also show that given existing international survey programs, the cost to international aid donors of filling remaining survey gaps is manageable--on the order of $300 million per year. We argue that any aid-financed expansion of household surveys should be complemented with (a) increased access to data through open data protocols, and (b) simultaneous support for the broader statistical system, including routine administrative data systems.
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Nigel Purvis, Abigail Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Worldwide, about 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity (one in five people), while unreliable electricity networks serve another 1 billion people. Roughly 2.7 billion—about 40 percent of the global population—lack access to clean cooking fuels. Instead, dirty, sometimes scarce and expensive fuels such as kerosene, candles, wood, animal waste, and crop residues power the lives of the energy poor, who pay disproportionately high costs and receive very poor quality in return. More than 95 percent of the energy poor are either in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia, while 84 percent are in rural areas—the same regions that are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia
  • Author: Jenny Ottenhoff
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The regional development banks (RDBs) are multilateral financial institutions that provide financial and technical assistance for development in low- and middle-income countries within their regions. Finance is allocated through low-interest loans and grants for a range of development sectors such as health and education, infrastructure, public administration, financial and private-sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. The term RDB usually refers to four institutions:
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Todd Moss, Sarah Jane Staats, Julia Barmeier
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The international financial institutions dramatically increased their lending in 2008–09 to help developing countries cope with the global financial crisis and support economic recovery. Today, these organizations are seeking billions of dollars in new funding. The IMF, which only a few years ago was losing clients and shedding staff, expanded by $750 billion in 2009. The World Bank and the four regional development banks for Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America have asked to increase their capital base by 30 to 200 percent. A general capital increase (GCI) for these development banks is an unusual request. A simultaneous GCI request is a oncein- a-generation occurrence.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ethiopia
  • Author: Jenny Ottenhoff
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The International Financial Institutions (IFIs) are multilateral agencies. The term typically refers to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which provides financing and policy advice to member nations experiencing economic difficulties, and the multilateral development banks (MDBs), which provide financing and technical support for development projects and economic reform in low- and middle-income countries. The term MDB is usually understood to mean the World Bank and four smaller regional development banks: African Development Bank (AfDB). Asian Development Bank (ADB). European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Foreign Aid, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Tessa Bold, Mwangi Kimenyi, Germano Mwabu, Justin Sandefur
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Existing studies from the United States, Latin America, and Asia provide scant evidence that private schools dramatically improve academic performance relative to public schools. Using data from Kenya—a poor country with weak public institutions—we find a large effect of private schooling on test scores, equivalent to one full standard deviation. This finding is robust to endogenous sorting of more able pupils into private schools. The magnitude of the effect dwarfs the impact of any rigorously tested intervention to raise performance within public schools. Furthermore, nearly two thirds of private schools operate at lower cost than the median government school.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Kenya, United States, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Paul Romer
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Non-resident fellow Paul Romer argues that the principal constraint to raising living standards in this century will come neither from scarce resources nor limited technologies. Rather it will come from our limited capacity to discover and implement new rules—new ideas about how to structure interactions among people, such as land titles, patents, and social norms. The central task of reducing global poverty is to find ways for developing countries to adopt new rules that are known to work better than the ones they have. Economists who advise leaders on policy have often overlooked why some good rules get adopted and others do not. But a better understanding of rules-that-change-rules could lead to breakthrough thinking about development policy. The special rules of China's Special Economic Zones, where new cities like Shenzhen could grow up, created small laboratories through which rules from Hong Kong spread to the mainland, helping unleash the largest and fastest reduction of poverty on record. Romer concludes that a new type of development policy would be to voluntarily charter new cities for the purpose of changing rules, using a range of new legal and political structures analogous to the ones that made Hong Kong and Shenzhen possible. The essay is adapted from a talk presented in Mexico City on October 2009, at the conference, “Challenges and Strategies for Promoting Economic Growth,” organized by Banco de México.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Mexico, Hong Kong, Shenzhen
  • Author: David Roodman, Jonathan Morduch
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The most-noted studies on the impact of microcredit on households are based on a survey fielded in Bangladesh in the 1990s. Contradictions among them have produced lasting controversy and confusion. Pitt and Khandker (PK, 1998) apply a quasi-experimental design to 1991–92 data; they conclude that microcredit raises household consumption, especially when lent to women. Khandker (2005) applies panel methods using a 1999 resurvey; he concurs and extrapolates to conclude that microcredit helps the extremely poor even more than the moderately poor. But using simpler estimators than PK, Morduch (1999) finds no impact on the level of consumption in the 1991–92 data, even as he questions PK's identifying assumptions. He does find evidence that microcredit reduces consumption volatility. Partly because of the sophistication of PK's Maximum Likelihood estimator, the conflicting results were never directly confronted and reconciled. We end the impasse. A replication exercise shows that all these studies' evidence for impact is weak. As for PK's headline results, we obtain opposite signs. But we do not conclude that lending to women does harm. Rather, all three studies appear to fail in expunging endogeneity. We conclude that for non-experimental methods to retain a place in the program evaluator's portfolio, the quality of the claimed natural experiments must be high and demonstrated.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Satish Chand, Ruth Coffman
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: When can a donor (successfully) exit from an on-the -ground presence in a post-conflict state? The answer, according to the analysis presented here, is in decades: figures well beyond what was originally envisioned when peacekeeping troops were first deployed. In the specific cases of Liberia, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste considered here, the best case scenario for successful exit ranges from 15 to 27 years. Successful exit, for the purposes of this paper, entails the creation of the necessary fiscal space to fund the recurrent budget from internally generated revenues. This is a necessary, albeit, not sufficient condition for donor exit. Of essence, however, is the time rather than the dollar value of support provided. An extended donor presence, it is argued, provides the space for the creation, sustenance, and maturation of institutions that are finally able to undergird the state from rolling back into state failure on donor exit.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Liberia, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste