Yohan Iddawela, Neil Lee, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 21 February 2021

Differences in the quality of local and regional governments and their implications for development have attracted considerable attention, especially in Europe and Asia. In Africa, the recent drive towards decentralisation has, however, neglected how variations in the quality of sub-national governments affect development prospects. This column addresses this gap in knowledge by measuring variations in subnational government quality in 22 African countries, and connecting these variations to differences in levels of development across the continent. The quality of sub-national governments is an important driver of economic development in African regions.

Prottoy A. Akbar, Victor Couture, Gilles Duranton, Adam Storeygard, 29 June 2019

Urban transportation in developing countries is prioritised for massive investments, yet little is known about the determinants of urban mobility in these countries. This column applies a methodology for measuring the performance of overall motor vehicle transportation in a city to the 154 largest cities in India. It finds that there are substantial differences in mobility speeds across large Indian cities but that the variation is driven primarily by uncongested mobility, not by congestion delays. This implies that typical policy measures attempting to improve urban mobility are missing the mark altogether.

Nuno Palma, Jaime Reis, 02 June 2018

Can less democratic forms of government lead to higher literacy rates? This column uses a sample of over 9,000 individuals from military archives in Portugal to show that an autocracy can have greater educational success than a democracy if it has closer cultural alignment with the preferences of the masses. This understanding has implications for development policy in poor countries today. 


In the fall of 2008, the world financial system seems on the verge of collapse. A decade earlier, the crisis in East Asia affected the lives of millions overnight. Dramatic changes in China and India have a severe impact on the world economy. While living standards in some developing countries have improved, poverty remains rampant in many. These are some of the serious economic challenges facing the world. Everywhere, development organizations, NGOs, government agencies, central banks, and investment banks are looking for experts who can apply cutting-edge analysis to solve such problems. The program combines rigorous analytical training with a strong focus on policy. For more information, visit www.barcelonagse.eu/ITFD.html


CEPR Policy Research