Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2022 (News and Research 320)

Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2022: Correcting Course | provides the first comprehensive analysis of the pandemic’s toll on poverty in developing countries. It identifies how governments can optimize fiscal policy to help correct course. Fiscal policies offset the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in many high-income countries, but those policies offset barely one quarter of the pandemic’s impact in low-income countries and lower-middle-income countries. Improving support to households as crises continue will require reorienting protective spending away from generally regressive and inefficient subsidies and toward a direct transfer support system—a first key priority. Reorienting fiscal spending toward supporting growth is a second key priority identified by the report. Some of the highest-value public spending often pays out decades later. Amid crises, it is difficult to protect such investments, but it is essential to do so. Finally, it is not enough just to spend wisely – when additional revenue does need to be mobilized, it must be done in a way that minimizes reductions in poor people’s incomes. The report highlights how exploring underused forms of progressive taxation and increasing the efficiency of tax collection can help in this regard. Poverty and Shared Prosperity is a biennial series that reports on global trends in poverty and shared prosperity. Each report also explores a central challenge to poverty reduction and boosting shared prosperity, assessing what works well and what does not in different settings. By bringing together the latest evidence, this corporate flagship report provides a foundation for informed advocacy around ending extreme poverty and improving the lives of the poorest in every country in the world. For more information, please visit worldbank.org/poverty-and-shared-prosperity.

COVID-19 Learning Losses, Parental Investments, and Recovery: Evidence from Low-Cost Private Schools in Nigeria | This paper studies the extent of learning losses and recovery in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, and provides some evidence that a full recovery is possible. Using data from a random sample of schools, we find significant learning losses of about 0.6 standard deviations in English and Math. However, a program designed to slow down the curriculum and cover what was missed during school closures led to a rebound within 2 months, and a recovery of all learning losses. Students who were a part of the program do not lag behind one year later and remain in school.

Methods for Measuring School Effectiveness | Many personal and policy decisions turn on perceptions of school effectiveness, defined here as the causal effect of attendance at a particular school or set of schools on student test scores and other outcomes. Widely-disseminated school ratings frameworks compare average student achievement across schools, but uncontrolled differences in means may owe more to selection bias than to causal effects. Such selection problems have motivated a wave of econometric innovation that uses elements of random and quasi-experimental variation to measure school effectiveness. This chapter reviews these empirical strategies, highlighting solved problems and open questions. Empirical examples are used throughout.

Making the (Letter) Grade: The Incentive Effects of Mandatory Pass/Fail Courses | In Fall 2014, Wellesley College began mandating pass/fail grading for courses taken by first-year, first-semester students, although instructors continued to record letter grades. We identify the causal effect of the policy on course choice and performance, using a regression-discontinuity-in-time design. Students shifted to lower-grading STEM courses in the first semester, but did not increase their engagement with STEM in later semesters. Letter grades of first-semester students declined by 0.13 grade points, or 23% of a standard deviation. We evaluate causal channels of the grade effect—including sorting into lower-grading STEM courses and declining instructional quality—and conclude that the effect is consistent with declining student effort.

Democratic Institutions and Social Capital: Experimental Evidence on School-Based Management From a Developing Country | The study estimates the effects of a democratic school-based management (SBM) project focusing on social capital formation in rural Burkina Faso. To this end, the study conducts a large-scale randomized controlled trial (RCT) on SBM in combination with lab-in-the-field experiments. The RCT demonstrated that SBM significantly increases social capital by way of contributions through public goods games. The study also offers suggestive evidence for differential impacts based on three types of social capital (i.e., bonding, bridging, and linking). Overall, the findings indicate that promoting democratic institutions might improve the service provision and functioning of schools in developing countries. Several novel features of the RCT-based social experiment, lab-in-the-field experiment, and data collection from the field provide insight into the mechanisms that underlie the cited impact.

Most popular insights in 2022: No.1: Harry Patrinos discusses the impact that Covid has had on student learning progress https://faculti.net/learning-loss-during-covid-19/