Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Stock photo of papers and a laptop on a desk.

Yes, Information Alone Really Can Change Behavior

“The fact that giving people information does not, by itself, change how they act is one of the most firmly established in social science,” a recent Washington Post op-ed stated. That’s not true. Here are ten examples where simply providing information changed behavior.

Syrian children present to teachers from the UK, Jordan and Lebanon in Zaatari

The Politics of Leaving Politics Out of the Classroom, and 4 Other New Findings in Global Education

There is a municipality in northeastern Brazil called Sobral, and schools there have the best learning outcomes in all of Brazil. Jaime Saavedra of the World Bank recounts his conversation with Sobral’s current mayor (and former secretary of education). “Mayor Gomes told me that ‘the most important political decision we took, was to keep politics out of education decisions.’ That statement is a deal breaker regarding education reform.

A scatter plot comparing the relationship of temperature and math scores for students across various countries.

5 New Findings in Global Education

Every day I see a consistent flow of new research and analysis in global education. Sometimes it feels like a deluge! There are some policy areas where we already have a great deal of research, but in other cases, one or two studies from a couple of countries drive our knowledge, and new evidence can make a big difference to our understanding. Here are five recent findings that I came across this week that struck me.

A close-up of a student taking notes while sitting at a desk in a classroom

Lessons for a New Minister of Education from People Who’ve Had the Job

To reform an education system: what a task! How does one even begin? Start by talking to those who’ve done the work. In his new book, Letters to a New Minister of Education, Fernando Reimers has assembled letters of advice from 17 education leaders representing 11 countries. Here are five lessons that I took away.

Construction workers laying a road

Do the Poor Want Cash Transfers or Public Services?

Nearly 4,000 people in rural Bihar, India, answered the question, “Would you rather have the government budget spent on cash transfers or public health and nutrition services?” According to a blog post by Khemani, Habyarimana, and Nooruddin, “only 13 percent chose cash if it came at the expense of spending to improve public health and nutrition.” The pattern is similar when comparing cash to roads, with the vast majority of people preferring roads. 

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