Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



February 17, 2010

Making 2010 a Watershed Year for Adolescent Girls' Education

Cynthia B. Lloyd, Ruth Levine, and Miriam Temin, authors of reports in CGD’s Girls Count series, call on Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, to push for global and national action to increase the commitment and funding to support adolescent girls’ education. Increasing girls’ chances of attending and completing school leads to long-term economic betterment for themselves and their families.

Cynthia B. Lloyd and Ruth Levine
February 11, 2010

Reviving the Global Education Compact: Four Options for Global Education Funding

In this essay, visiting fellow Desmond Bermingham describes the framework for a better “global education compact” between donor and recipient nations and four possible arrangements to mobilize and allocate development assistance for education. He highlights the advantages and disadvantages of these options—all with the motivation of informing decisions that must be taken by the United States and other G-20 countries if donor commitments are to be met.

August 19, 2009

The Illusion of Equality: The Educational Consequences of Blinding Weak States, For Example - Working Paper 178

Efforts to decentralize educational systems often arouse fears that the quality of schooling will become less equal as a result. But what’s the evidence? CGD non-resident fellow Lant Pritchett and co-author Martina Viarengo show in a new CGD working paper that the supposedly greater equality of centralized systems is often little more than the illusion of a bureaucracy blinded to local realities.


Martina Viarengo
March 21, 2009

Schooling Inequality, Crises, and Financial Liberalization in Latin America - Working Paper 165

This working paper examines the relationship between high inequality and liberalization of the financial sector in Latin America from 1975 to 2000. Using panel data, the authors find that increases in financial liberalization were associated with bank crises and other domestic and external shocks, and that higher schooling inequality reduces the impetus for liberalization brought on by bank crises.

Jere R. Behrman and Gunilla Pettersson
March 2, 2009

We Don't Need No Education? Why the United States Should Take the Lead on Global Education

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and U.S. President Barack Obama are both committed to boosting funding for global education. CGD visiting fellow Desmond Bermingham, the former head of the Education for All–Fast Track Initiative, offers suggestions about making the most of additional U.S. assistance for the two leaders to consider when they meet this week in the White House.

January 5, 2009

Pricing and Access: Lessons from Randomized Evaluations in Education and Health - Working Paper 158

The debate on user fees in health and education has been contentious, but until recently much of the evidence has been anecdotal. Does charging poor people for health and education services improve or impede access? CGD non-resident fellow Michael Kremer and co-author Alaka Holla survey the evidence from recent randomized evaluations across a variety of settings to find out. The verdict: higher prices decrease access.

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Alaka Holla and Michael Kremer
Cover of The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President
August 22, 2008

The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President

The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President shows how modest changes in U.S. policies could greatly improve the lives of poor people in developing countries, thus fostering greater stability, security, and prosperity globally and at home. Center for Global Development experts offer fresh perspectives and practical advice on trade policy, migration, foreign aid, climate change and more. In an introductory essay, CGD President Nancy Birdsall explains why and how the next U.S. president must lead in the creation of a better, safer world.

June 16, 2008

Measuring Progress with Tests of Learning: Pros and Cons for "Cash on Delivery Aid" in Education - Working Paper 147

Improving education has been a central goal of international development for decades, and the best indicators of improvement measure student performance. But can such measurements be used as incentives to stimulate more rapid improvement in education? There are no simple answers to this question since test-based measures pose a myriad of technical challenges. In this CGD Working Paper, visiting fellow Marlaine Lockheed reviews some of these challenges and the effects they could have on measuring the success of “progress-based aid” programs. She suggests four ways to successfully incorporate measures of learning outcomes into programs for progress-based aid.

February 4, 2008

Beyond the ABCs: Higher Education and Developing Countries - Working Paper 139

Although higher education is crucial to development remarkably little is known about what happens within developing country universities. Moreover, while enrollment and budgets are rising, the impact of this growth is unclear. A new CGD working paper by non-resident fellow Devesh Kapur and co-author Megan Crowley offers a fresh look at the effects of higher education in developing countries, how these differ from the effects in rich countries, and the opportunities and barriers to improving both quality and access.

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Devesh Kapur and Megan Crowley
Cover of Girls Count report
January 14, 2008

Girls Count: A Global Investment & Action Agenda

The wellbeing of adolescent girls in developing countries shapes global economic and social prosperity -- yet girls' needs often are consigned to the margins of development policies and programs. This new report describes why and how to provide adolescent girls in developing countries a full and equal chance in life. Offering targeted recommendations for national and local governments, donor agencies, civil society, and the private sector, Girls Count provides a compelling starting point for country-specific agendas to recognize and foster girls' potential.

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Ruth Levine , Cynthia B. Lloyd , Margaret Greene and Caren Grown
December 13, 2007

Putting the Power of Transparency in Context: Information's Role in Reducing Corruption in Uganda's Education Sector - Working Paper 136

One story popular in development circles tells how Uganda slashed corruption simply by publicly disclosing the amount of monthly grants to schools--thus making it harder for officials to siphon off money for their own enrichment. This working paper finds that while the percentage of funds being diverted did indeed drop, the real value of funds diverted only fell by a modest 12 percent over six years. And the information campaign was no panacea; other policies and reforms also contributed to the improvement.

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Cover of Exclusion, Gender and Education: Case Studies from the Developing World
September 24, 2007

Exclusion, Gender and Education: Case Studies from the Developing World

Girls have achieved remarkable increases in primary schooling over the past decade, yet millions are still not in school. In Inexcusable Absence, CGD visiting fellows Maureen Lewis and Marlaine Lockheed reported the startling new finding that nearly three-quarters of out-of-school girls belong to minority or otherwise marginalized groups. This companion volume further analyzes school enrollment, completion and learning with case studies in seven countries: Bangladesh, China, Guatemala, India, Laos, Pakistan, and Tunisia.

April 16, 2007

Inexcusable Absence: Why 60 Million Girls Still Aren't in School and What to do About It (Brief)

Remarkable increases in primary schooling over the past decade have brought gender equity to the education systems of many poor countries. But some 60 million girls are still not attending school. In this CGD brief, non-resident fellow Maureen Lewis and visiting fellow Marlaine Lockheed explain the key discovery of Inexcusable Absence, their recent book: three out of four girls not in school belong to ethnic, religious, linguistic, racial or other minorities. Based on this important finding, the authors present new practical solutions to achieve universal primary education for girls and boys. Learn more

January 22, 2007

AIDS Treatment and Intrahousehold Resource Allocations: Children's Nutrition and Schooling in Kenya - Working Paper 105

Treating poverty-stricken AIDS patients with antiretrovirals (ARVs) extends their lives and enables them to retun to work. It seems reasonable to expect that their children would benefit, too. Now there is research to support this idea. CGD post-doctoral fellow Harsha Thirumurthy and his co-authors use household surveys from western Kenya to show that children of adults who receive ARVs experience large and rapid improvements in schooling and nutritional outcomes. Specifically, children of treated adults work significantly less and spend more time in school; and very young children are better nourished.

Harsha Thirumurthy
Cover of Inexcusable Absence: Why 60 Million Girls Still Aren't In School and What to do About It
January 4, 2007

Inexcusable Absence: Why 60 Million Girls Still Aren't In School and What to do About It

Girls' education is widely recognized as crucial to development. Yet there has been surprisingly little hardheaded analysis about what is keeping girls out of school, and how to overcome these barriers. In Inexcusable Absence, Maureen Lewis and Marlaine Lockheed present new research showing that nearly three-quarters of the 60 million girls still not in school belong to ethnic, religious, linguistic, racial or other minorities. The authors then examine examples of success in helping these doubly disadvantaged girls to attend school and offer concrete proposals for new policies and programs.

August 28, 2006

A Millennium Learning Goal: Measuring Real Progress in Education - Working Paper 97

The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) seek to ensure that all children complete primary school by 2015. But school completion rates don't tell us how much--or how little--the kids actually learn. This new working paper co-authored by CGD non-resident fellow Lant Pritchett shows that even in countries that meet the primary school completion goal, most students fall short of minimum competency in reading, writing and arithmetic. The answer, the authors argue, is a Millennium Learning Goal that measures how much students actually know. Learn more

Deon Filmer , Amer Hasan and Lant Pritchett
June 12, 2006

Education and the Developing World

Given all the other pressing worries, why was education among the issues that G8 leaders discussed at the St. Petersburg Summit? Education and the Developing World, a CGD Rich World/Poor World Brief, explains why investing in education is not just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.Learn more about Rich World, Poor World: A Guide to Global Development

September 12, 2005

What's Wrong with the Millennium Development Goals?

Many poor countries, especially in Africa, will miss the MDGs by a large margin. But neither African inaction nor a lack of aid will necessarily be the reason. Instead, responsibility for near-certain ‘failure’ lies with the overly-ambitious goals themselves and unrealistic expectations placed on aid. While the MDGs may have galvanized activists and encouraged bigger aid budgets, over-reaching brings risks as well. Promising too much leads to disillusionment and can erode the constituency for long-term engagement with the developing world.