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.
CGD’s work in education focuses on the role education can play in building more equal and prosperous societies.
CGD’s education program focuses on broad welfare goals and seeks to understand the role education can play in addressing inequity. Despite the tremendous progress that has been made in getting girls and boys into school, education has not yet fulfilled its promise of being the great societal equalizer. Gender inequality remains acute and deeply rooted in the economic, political and social spheres in developing countries. Intergenerational mobility is declining, not increasing. Poor children get educated in bad schools where they do not acquire basic numeracy and literacy skills while rich children attend good schools.
Our research examines the mechanisms through which education can give children equal life opportunities and build the human capital that nations need to prosper.
The types of workers recruited into teaching and their allocation across classrooms can greatly influence a country’s stock of human capital. This paper considers how markets and non-market institutions determine the quantity, wages, skills, and spatial distribution of teachers in developing countries.
In recent years, a growing literature has measured the impact of education interventions in low- and middle-income countries on both access and learning outcomes. But interpretation of those effect sizes as large or small tends to rely on benchmarks developed by a psychologist in the United States in the 1960s. In this paper, we demonstrate the distribution of standardized effect sizes on learning and access from hundreds of studies from low- and middle-income countries.
India is a great example of what not to do, suggests Professor Karthik Muralidharan of the University of California, San Diego, a leading researcher on what works – and what does not work – in education in developing countries. Seems strange when you consider Indians head up some of the biggest companies on the planet, including Google, Microsoft and Pepsi. But Muralidharan says these high achievers show up the weaknesses in India’s education system. “The history of education in developing countries has not been about how to educate whole populations but how to channel those who are smart,” he told me in a CGD Podcast, recorded earlier this year.
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.
My guest on this week’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast is CGD senior fellow Lant Pritchett, whose new book, The Rebirth of Education: Schooling Ain’t Learning, was released last month and is now available on Kindle. The book addresses a fundamental problem in education: despite great progress to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal target for primary school completion, students the world over are leaving school having learned very little. “They need to be in school and learn,” Pritchett says. “If you create systems where the only measures of schooling are kids in seats, you’re going to get measures of time served rather than learning gained.”