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

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
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    Disability, Poverty and Schooling in Developing Countries : Results from 11 Household Surveys
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-12) Filmer, Deon
    This paper analyzes the relationship between whether a young person has a disability, the poverty status of their household, and their school participation using 11 household surveys from nine developing countries. Between 1 and 2 percent of the population is identified as having a disability. Youth with disabilities sometimes live in poorer households, but the extent of this concentration is typically neither large nor statistically significant. However, youth with disabilities are almost always substantially less likely to start school, and in some countries have lower transition rates resulting in lower schooling attainment. The order of magnitude of the school participation disability deficit is often larger than those associated with other characteristics such as gender, rural residence, or economic status differentials.
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    The Lost Human Capital: Teacher Knowledge and Student Achievement in Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-05) Bold, Tessa ; Filmer, Deon ; Molina, Ezequiel ; Svensson, Jakob
    In many low-income countries, teachers do not master the subject they are teaching, and children learn little while attending school. Using unique data from nationally representative surveys of schools in seven Sub-Saharan African countries, this paper proposes a methodology to assess the effect of teacher subject content knowledge on student learning when panel data on students are not available. The paper shows that data on test scores of the student's current and the previous year's teachers, and knowledge of the correlation structure of teacher knowledge across time and grades, allow estimating two structural parameters of interest: the contemporaneous effect of teacher content knowledge, and the extent of fade out of teacher impacts in earlier grades. The paper uses these structural estimates to understand the magnitude of teacher effects and simulate the impacts of various policy reforms. Shortfalls in teachers' content knowledge account for 30 percent of the shortfall in learning relative to the curriculum, and about 20 percent of the cross-country difference in learning in the sample. Assigning more students to better teachers would potentially lead to substantial cost-savings, even if there are negative class-size effects. Ensuring that all incoming teachers have the officially mandated effective years of education, along with increasing the time spent on teaching to the officially mandated schedule, could almost double student learning within the next 30 years.