With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Politicians often claim elite schools are vehicles for social mobility. We look at the evidence on effects on the kids who attend elite schools—and on the kids who don’t—to explore whether they live up to their hype. We suggest they produce at best a small bump in learning outcomes, but at a high cost (including to the children who don’t get in) and without doing a particularly good job of targeting the poor. We then consider what this means for policymakers in developing countries planning to rapidly scale up provision of secondary education.
The ‘Learning Adjusted Year of Schooling’ (LAYS) concept, introduced last year by the World Bank, seeks to combine access and learning outcomes into a single measure, allowing funders to compare directly across different kinds of interventions. We like the idea and applaud innovation in measurement, but think LAYS still has some way to go before it’s really ready to be used as a robust measure by funders.
In 2014, the DFID released a “rigorous review” of the literature on private schools in developing countries. Five years on, there has been a slew of new studies. Do the conclusions still stand? We carried out a quick scan of the research published since 2014 and found that the recent evidence broadly reinforces the earlier findings.
A recent report by the Center for Universal Education at Brookings suggests that private school chains may prove to be valuable supplements to public education. But donors looking for scale should think twice before placing all bets on private school chains. The vast majority of private schools are not part of a chain. They’re run by individual proprietors, otherwise known as “mom n’ pop shops.”
World leaders and policymakers are in New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss key global issues, including global education. Here, we round up the big announcements at UNGA related to education.
The global education community has been calling on poor countries to increase their spending on education for years now, to little avail. Instead of repeatedly making the case for how important education is, or calling for poliltical will, a smarter approach could be to directly address the political economy of education spending.
Better school choice won’t create better schools by itself, but it can save time for everyone involved and make a system fairer that is critical for the life chances of millions. That’s a choice worth making.
Are “sin taxes” regressive? This is a common criticism of proposals to increase taxes on “bads” such as tobacco, alcohol, and sugar. There are a number of reasons not to be too concerned by the answer to this question. But still, we were curious, so we took a look at the data.
In contrast to Donald Trump’s election as US president, the UK’s Brexit campaign and subsequent government response have emphasised that the UK will be outward-looking, embrace free trade and build new economic relationships. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has set the ambition for the UK to be a “global leader on free trade.”
The possibility of leaving the EU means that the UK now needs to revisit the questions of whether and for which countries to offer trade preferences, particularly since the key ‘enabling clause’ underpinning trade preferences does not confine preferences to least developed countries (LDCs). Let's explore the options.