He leads a team based Washington DC and in 10 Asian countries to provide strategic vision and direction, encourage and support innovation in both knowledge work and lending and manages staff to deliver results on the ground. He specializes in the economics of education, particularly the returns to schooling, school-based management, demand-side financing and public-private partnerships. He has managed education lending operations and analytical work programs in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. He has studied and worked extensively on the socioeconomic status of Indigenous Peoples, and has co-authored two books on this subject: Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Human Development in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and Indigenous Peoples, Poverty, and Development (Cambridge, 2014). He has many publications in the academic and policy literature, with more than 50 journal articles published. He is co-author of the books: Making Schools Work: New evidence on accountability reforms (World Bank, 2011); The Role and Impact of Public-Private Partnerships in Education (World Bank, 2009); and Decentralized Decision-Making in Schools: The Theory and Evidence on School-Based Management (World Bank, 2009). He has also worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. He previously worked as an economist at the Economic Council of Canada. He received his doctorate from the University of Sussex.
Returns to investment in education based on human capital theory have been estimated systematically since the 1950s. The latest compilations show that the average global rate of return to schooling is 10 percent a year and very stable over decades. The private returns to schooling are highest at the university level, while social returns to primary schooling remain high. Women continue to experience higher average rates of return to schooling, showing that girls’ education is a priority. At the same time, automation implies a race between education and technology. In most developing countries, education systems are not providing workers with the skills necessary to realize the high returns to schooling, giving rise to growing skill premiums in much of the world. There is a need to focus policy on skills, equity and finance.