Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs




A pair of charts showing that poorer students pass school leaving exams at much lower rates than richer peers in many countries, and that exam failure rates are extremely high in many countries

A Case for Abolishing High-stakes Exams—This Year and Every Year

There may be no government response that can fully mitigate COVID-19’s impact and maintain fairness for 2020’s exam candidates. But high-stakes exams are unfair every year, not just during a pandemic: large differences in home support and access to resources are not new. Exams reinforce income inequality, create perverse incentives in the classroom, and limit the number of students who could benefit from more education.

A hedgehog (sans fox) on a white background. Photo via Adobe Stock

Expanding the Menagerie: Why the FCDO Needs To Be Both Hedgehog and Fox To Reach Its Potential

In Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay, he divided the world into hedgehogs, who have a singular vision uniting all action, and foxes, characterized by the breadth of their intellectual curiosity and locus of attention. The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office needs to be both hedgehog and fox to fulfill its promise, being able to relate all of its work to its central vision of being a force for good in the world, while retaining the fox’s ability to work on multiple problems in multiple ways.

Figure showing that widening the weight variation leads to greater range of results, but still a general trend

How Robust Is the CDI to Changes in Weights?

Each year, the Center for Global Development produces the Commitment to Development Index, evaluating countries across a range of indicators that measure their impact on developing countries. This blog demonstrates that the ranking of countries in the CDI is fairly robust to the weights used. That rankings change little as weights are varied suggests that the CDI is capturing something real about the attitudes towards development of countries included in the index.

An image of health supplies

Data Science to Forecast Demand for Supplies at Health Clinics

Accurately forecasting the demand for health products at health clinics, and ordering the correct quantity, is a significant challenge to ensuring availability of health products at the last mile of health systems. While much progress has been made since then in terms of more accurate global forecasting, clinic-level demand forecasts still remain an unaddressed area.