Justin Sandefur

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Organizations & people

working to improve education systems
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Justin Sandefur is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development.[1]

How their work relates to education systems

In "Girls' Schooling and Women's Literacy: Schooling Targets Alone Won't Reach Learning Goals," Sandefur and Pritchett use DHS data to show that even if universal primary school completion among girls was reached, the goal of universal female literacy would not follow suit. For example, even if Nigeria reached universal primary school completion for all girls, female illiteracy would only drop 5%, from 58% to 53%. Ultimately, they find that in order to achieve the SDG goals for learning, developing countries must drastically improve the learning profiles that their education systems produce.[2]

In "Measuring Rents from Public Employment: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya," Sandefur and his coauthors explore whether public employees earning higher wages than private-sector counterparts in Kenya is a result of efficient return on unobserved skills, or an inefficient rent causing labor misallocation. Using fuzzy regression discontinuity design, they find that there was no impact on motivation for new teachers hired in Kenya, suggesting that inefficient allocation is a possible explanation.[3]

Brief biography

Justin Sandefur is a member of the RISE Intellectual Leadership Team. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development. His research focuses on the interface of law and development in sub-Saharan Africa. From 2008 to 2010, he served as an adviser to the Tanzanian government to set up the country’s National Panel Survey to monitor poverty dynamics and agricultural production. He has also worked on a project with the Kenyan Ministry of Education to bring rigorous impact evaluation into the Ministry’s policymaking process by scaling up proven small-scale reforms.[4]

His recent papers concentrate on education in Kenya, and his research includes the examinations through randomized controlled trials of new approaches to conflict resolution in Liberia, efforts to curb police extortion and abuse in Sierra Leone, and an initiative to expand land titling in urban slums in Tanzania.

Sandefur's expertise includes legal empowerment of the poor, education, Africa, and evaluation of aid effectiveness.[1]

Key publications related to education systems

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Justin Sandefur". Center For Global Development. Retrieved 2021-08-25. https://www.cgdev.org/expert/justin-sandefur
  2. Pritchett, L. and Sandefur, J. 2017. Girls’ Schooling and Women’s Literacy: Schooling Targets Alone Won’t Reach Learning Goals. RISE Working Paper Series. 17/011. https://doi.org/10.35489/BSG-RISE-WP_2017/011
  3. Barton, N., Bold, T., and Sandefur, J. 2017. Measuring Rents from Public Employment: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Kenya. RISE Working Paper Series. 17/015. https://doi.org/10.35489/BSG-RISE-WP_2017/015
  4. "Justin Sandefur". RISE Programme. Retrieved 2021-08-25. https://www.cgdev.org/expert/justin-sandefur