CGD Policy Blogs
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.”
Counting the number of patients on treatment is no longer enough. For years even the friendliest critics of the global struggle against AIDS have pointed out that this metric unfairly neglects the people who are not put on treatment and then die, largely because their deaths are uncounted except in so far as they increase the treatment “coverage rate.” This diverts attention from the challenge of assuring that patients are retained on treatment and remain alive and healthy, rather than failing treatment and dying, sometimes after only a few months.
In an astonishingly short time, we will soon be packing up our books and computers and moving to a new headquarters, the entire fifth floor of 2055 L Street, NW, a newly rejuvenated mid-century modern office building, just a few blocks from our current location. If all goes according to plan, we will be up and running in the new location on November 25.
The Economist’s take on the Give Directly evaluation argues that unconditional cash transfers (UCT) “don’t deal with the deeper causes of poverty.” The article cites Baird and co-authors’ review showing that vigorously enforced conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs generate larger effects on school enrollment than UCT, and suggests that CCT are thus better positioned to address the root causes of poverty.
There is a growing paradox on the US aid transparency front. The US government is simultaneously home to the world’s most open and most opaque development agencies. And the chasm between them has grown wider over the last year. That’s our main takeaway from Publish What You Fund’s (PWYF) latest Aid Transparency Index rankings of 67 major donor organizations.
The Development Impact Bond Working Group convened by CGD and Social Finance UK recently launched its final report, Investing in Social Outcomes: Development Impact Bonds, which has been well received by the diverse groups of actors who could make DIBs happen, including donor agencies, impact investors, foundations, and civil society organizations.
It appears that the worst kept secret in Washington is out: Ambassador Goosby is expected to step down as Global AIDS Coordinator later this year. As CGD has done for similar leadership transitions, we are working on a report to examine the future direction of PEPFAR and consider which tasks PEPFAR’s next leader should put near the top of the program’s list of priorities. One preliminary conclusion: Goosby’s successor will certainly face programmatic challenges, but the political ones may prove to be more difficult.
Angus Deaton’s new book The Great Escape is a must-read for those interested in development simply because it is written by Professor Deaton, a world-leading expert in trends in global quality of life. I’m not all of the way through it but have found it fascinating so far, including his argument that aid doesn’t work (mostly).