Filmer, Deon

Development Research Group
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Education, Evidence-based public policy, Inequality and shared prosperity, Jobs and poverty, Social protection and labor, Social Protection and Growth
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Last updated August 31, 2023
Deon Filmer is a Lead Economist in the Research Group at the World Bank and Co-Director of the World Development Report 2018 Learning to Realize Education’s Promise. He has also previously served as Lead Economist in the Human Development department of the Africa Region of the World Bank. He works on issues of human capital and skills, service delivery, and the impact of policies and programs to improve human development outcomes—with research spanning the areas of education, health, social protection, and poverty and inequality. He has published widely in refereed journals, including studies of the impact of demand-side programs on schooling and learning; the roles of poverty, gender, orphanhood, and disability in explaining education inequalities; and the determinants of effective service delivery. He has recently co-authored the following books: Making Schools Work: New Evidence from Accountability Reforms, Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and From Mines and Wells to Well-Built Minds: Turning Sub-Saharan Africa's Natural Resource Wealth into Human Capital. He was a core team member of the World Bank's World Development Reports in 1995 Workers in an Integrating World and 2004 Making Services Work for Poor People, and a contributor to 2007’s report Development and the Next Generation. He holds a PhD and MA from Brown University and a BA from Tufts University.
Citations 365 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
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    Impact Evaluation of Three Types of Early Childhood Development Interventions in Cambodia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-07) Bouguen, Adrien ; Filmer, Deon ; Macours, Karen ; Naudeau, Sophie
    Scaling up early childhood development services has the potential to increase children's cognitive and socio-emotional development and promote school readiness in a large segment of the population. This study used a randomized controlled trial approach to evaluate three scaled-up programs designed to widen access to early childhood development services: formal preschools, community preschools, and home-based services. The impacts of all three programs fell short of expectations because of two key flaws in how they were scaled up. First, implementation did not receive due attention; as a result, school facilities were not completed as planned, community-based programs were not always established, and low, irregular stipends created difficulties in hiring and retaining teachers. Second, the services that were available were not promoted and thus not used as widely as anticipated. The results imply that the quality of programs supplied is critical, as is attention to the demand side of the problem. The finding that these programs fell short of expectations does not mean that interventions such as these are ineffective. Rather, it indicates that quality and demand require careful attention in attempts to scale up early childhood development interventions, and any problems should be addressed prior to evaluating effectiveness.
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    Preschool and Parental Response in a Second Best World: Evidence from a School Construction Experiment
    (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019-03-31) Bouguen, Adrien ; Filmer, Deon ; Macours, Karen ; Naudeau, Sophie
    Interventions targeting early childhood hold promise for reducing the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Results from a randomized evaluation of a preschool construction program in Cambodia suggest caution. Overall impacts on early childhood outcomes are small and insignificant. Impacts on cognition are negative for the cohort with highest program exposure, with the largest negative effects among children of poorer and less educated parents. The results are explained by substitution from primary to preschool and differences in demand responses to preschools between more and less educated parents. Context, program specifics, and behavioral responses can hence lead to perverse effects of well-intentioned interventions.
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    Cambodia: Can New and Improved Preschools Improve Child Development in Rural Communities?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-05) Berkes, Jan ; Bouguen, Adrien ; Filmer, Deon ; Fukao, Tsuyoshi
    Early childhood is a critical period for growth and development. Research shows that giving young children enough nurturing and stimulating experiences during these early years not only improves their chances of success in school but can also help them succeed and be more productive later in life. Although access to preschool has increased substantially in recent years, in many low-income communities’ children don’t receive any educational services before they start primary school. In some cases, parents aren’t aware of the value of early education and might not take advantage of opportunities to enroll their children in preschool, even when services are available.
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    Joint Effects of Parenting and Nutrition Status on Child Development: Evidence from Rural Cambodia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-07) Berkes, Jan ; Raikes, Abbie ; Bouguen, Adrien ; Filmer, Deon
    Substantial work has demonstrated that early nutrition and home environments, including the degree to which children receive cognitive stimulation and emotional support from parents, play a profound role in influencing early childhood development. Yet, less work has documented the joint influences of parenting and nutrition status on child development among children in the preschool years living in low-income countries. Using panel data on parenting, nutrition status, and early developmental outcomes of about 7,000 Cambodian preschool-age children, this paper demonstrates that inequities in early development associated with family wealth are evident at the start of preschool and increase over time. A significant share of these inequalities can be explained by differences in parental stimulation and early nutrition status. Better educated parents engage in better parental activities that stimulate children's development. However, the positive association between parental activities and child outcomes is particularly strong for non-stunted children, and parental activities can only explain about 8-14 percent of the cognitive gap between the lowest and highest wealth quintiles. The results highlight the need for integrated interventions that address both parenting and early nutrition, also suggesting that parenting interventions for the most disadvantaged families should be carefully designed and evaluated to ensure maximum effectiveness.
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    Improving Preschool Provision and Encouraging Demand: Heterogeneous Impacts of a Large-Scale Program
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-12) Berkes, Jan ; Bouguen, Adrien ; Filmer, Deon ; Fukao, Tsuyoshi
    This paper experimentally examines the impacts of a large-scale government program that increased the supply and quality of community preschools in rural Cambodia. The construction of new preschool facilities was paired with two demand-side interventions designed to stimulate additional enrollment into preschools. The newly constructed preschools caused an increase in enrollment rates but the demand-side interventions did not. One year after the program started, the paper finds small and significant impacts on cognitive (0.04 standard deviations) and socio-emotional development (0.09 standard deviations). The analysis shows that the cognitive impacts are driven by children from the wealthiest quartile, while the program had limited impacts on children from the poorest families. The effects on cognitive development increased after two years for the wealthiest (the cognitive gap widened) while the effects on socio-emotional development faded out across the board. Using detailed classroom surveys and in-class observations, the paper shows that the program had large impacts on the quality of preschool infrastructure and materials but only limited impacts the quality of educational processes -- the results therefore suggest that further improvement of those processes might be needed to foster the development of disadvantaged children.