Recent MIDP Capstone Projects

Students at McCourt School’s Master in International Development Policy (MIDP) work with a client to produce an applied empirical report which answers a policy-relevant question.

Measuring Teaching Practices in Government Schools in Developing Countries (2023)

This project aimed to help NewGlobe to monitor and evaluate teacher behavior in classrooms of low-income schools. NewGlobe works to improve and transform educational outcomes by supporting technology-enabled education systems and have developed and implemented programs across Africa and Asia as both a technical partner to local governments and as a direct implementer. The project developed, piloted, and refined a new teacher observation instrument supported by a training manual. To assess the instructional practices of teachers, the team developed a low-inference teacher observation instrument that captured the areas that align with NewGlobe’s priorities, while minimizing potential enumerator effects.

Read the Policy Brief

The Relationship between Teacher Quality and Student Learning: An Analysis from Ethiopia, Jordan, Peru, and Rwanda (2023)

This study evaluated the relationship between student learning and teacher quality (as measured by the World bank’s TEACH tool) using school-level data from four countries. The team explored the linkages between teaching practices and student test scores and identified which clusters of teaching practices as captured by the TEACH tool are most conducive to student learning at an aggregate and at the country-level. Finally, the project situated these results within the context of other papers estimating the relationship between teaching practices and student test scores.

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The Correlates of Subnational Poverty in Zambia (2022)

Rapid economic growth in Zambia in recent years has not been accompanied by the expected decline in poverty. This project aimed to answer two key research questions: (i) What are the key correlates of subnational poverty in Zambia? and (ii) What are the characteristics of poverty-affected areas in Zambia? While there are a number of channels that influence the prevalence of poverty, this study approached these questions through four key thematic areas: agricultural output, human capital, access to markets and services and exposure to climate risks.

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The Relationship Between Market Systems Resilience Capacities and Enterprise Resilience Outcomes (2022)

This study examined the role MSR capacities play in market resilience by empirically testing their relationship to firm functionality after a shock, namely, the COVID-19 pandemic. The team leveraged pre-COVID data for low and lower-middle income countries from the World Bank Enterprise Survey (ES), which includes firm information that enabled the construction of indices for sub-categories of each of the MSR capacities (referred to as sub-capacities) through factor analysis. These indices were then connected to firm functionality outcomes from the COVID-19 Follow Up Survey conducted by the World Bank using the same sample of firms.

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Identifying Climate-Conflict Hotspots in Ethiopia (2021)

This project estimated the anticipated change in conflict incidence in Ethiopia due to climate change. The team analysis started with the literature on the relationship between temperature change and conflict, and how this varies based on the economic livelihoods in the area. The team then created a model to project future conflict levels in different parts of Ethiopia using geographically disaggregated data on historical temperatures, expected temperature changes in the future due to climate change, the historical incidence of conflict, and the local patterns of economic livelihoods.

Read the Policy Brief (Mercy Corps)

Determinants of Wage Differences at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (2021)

Using publicly-available data on civil servant salaries and manual coding of gender, this project examined the extent and sources of wage differences at MCC. The research determined that men earn 14% more than women, and that even within the same pay band salaries are 1.7% higher for men. The team scraped LinkedIn to get data on education and work experience and, using an Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, found that observed characteristics explain all of the difference in starting salaries. There is no evidence that women are more/less likely to get promoted or receive raises, nor are there differences in the size of the promotion, but worker retention is higher for men.

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The Drivers and Returns to Migration (2020)

Using panel data from the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium this capstone project investigates the effects of exogenous shocks on the likelihood of migration in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the effects of remittances and migration on household food security in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Read the Policy Brief (Mercy Corps)

Examining school accountability and teacher value-added in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district in Pakistan (2020)

This analysis aims to explore whether certain types of auditors more accurately assessed school and teacher inspectors and to determine the predictors of teacher value added. Since inspectors consist of two types of public servants at different levels of the bureaucracy, we test whether audit accuracy varies by auditor type.

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The 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal: Who were the most exposed, vulnerable, and resilient? (2019)

The students analyze the Nepal Household Risk and Vulnerability Survey conducted by the World Bank in 2016. They find that richer households in the plain areas were most likely to be exposed to the earthquake.

Read the Policy Brief (World Bank)

Inequality of Opportunity in Ethiopia (2019)

The students analyze trends in inequality of opportunity in Ethiopia. They find that there has been an overall improvement in both access to services and inequality of access, between 2011 and 2016. However, large geographic disparities between rural and urban areas remain.

Read the Technical Report (World Bank)