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Featuring Arindam Nandi
Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy
Paper Abstract: Despite strong recent economic growth, gender inequality remains a major concern for India. Nandi’s paper examines the effectiveness of a public policy geared towards the reduction of gender inequality. The national Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Techniques (PNDT) Act of 1994, implemented in 1996, banned sex-selective abortions in the Indian states. Although demographers frequently mention the futility of the Act, this paper is among the first to evaluate the law using a treatment-effect type analysis of the pre-ban and post-ban periods. Using village-level and town-level longitudinal data from the 1991 and 2001 censuses, along with household survey data from other sources, Nandi finds a significantly positive impact of the PNDT Act on the female-to-male juvenile sex ratio. In the possible absence of the PNDT Act, Nandi finds that the juvenile sex ratio would have declined by another 16-20 points.
David Evans, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, will present new research which tests the impact of publicly providing day-care for children age 0-3 on children’s development, labour market participation for mothers, grandmothers, and others, and household well-being in Brazil. Following David’s presentation, Matthew Jukes will provide commentary and questions on the research and will position the findings within broader early childhood development policy and research.
Public health programs such antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV are likely to have positive spillover benefits to community members beyond the targeted beneficiaries that could be many times larger than the direct benefits. Join CGD for a brownbag seminar to discuss Dr. Zoë McLaren’s recent study evaluating the direct and indirect impact of AIDS treatment on labor market outcomes in rural South Africa, using HIV test results to separately identify the impact by HIV status. The study estimates the impact of access to treatment using a rigorous statistical approach including machine learning methods. The work finds that the scale up of ART access led to employment increases not only among HIV-positive individuals, but also among HIV-negative individuals who had no HIV-positive household members. Investments in health-related human capital may therefore have important stimulus effects on local economies that should be considered alongside conventional economic policy.
Public spending on social sectors can play a crucial role in inclusive and sustained growth in low- and middle-income countries, and in delivering the health, education, and social protection outcomes to which governments and their partners have committed as part of the 2030 SDGs. Yet challenges are ahead. A large gap remains between the resources currently devoted to social sectors and the level needed to meet SDG targets. Each SDG has its own resource demands that require governments to weigh the costs and benefits of public spending across a range of uses. Finally, current and upcoming transitions in health and development aid, modest domestic resource mobilization gains, and rising debt service obligations put pressure on the fiscal envelope.