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Full Biography

Dr. Gustafsson-Wright has been a Guest Scholar at Brookings since 2006. She specializes in applied microeconomic research within the fields of education and health in developing countries with regional foci in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. She has concurrently held the position of Senior Researcher with the Amsterdam Institute for International Development (AIID) in the Netherlands. Her research encompasses several components of human development including education, social protection, health and labor. Some of her recent work includes impact evaluations of an early childhood development (ECD) program in the Caribbean and a health program that implements and subsidizes private health insurance to low-income groups in Sub-saharan Africa. In addition, she conducts research on innovative financing mechanisms for health and education including public-private partnerships and social impact investing. Currently, her work focuses on the challenges to scaling up ECD in the developing countries including the constraints around financing, capacity and quality of services, knowledge gaps and political support for ECD.

Her previous professional experience includes consulting at the World Bank’s Human Development Network and in the Latin American Region of the World Bank. During her 3 years at the World Bank, her work focused on education and child labor, conditional cash transfer programs and risk and vulnerability in Latin America. In this capacity, she focused on the impacts of poverty-targeted and education programs in Brazil. Her research contributed to the provision of technical assistance to government counterparts in their implementation of anti-child labor, education and poverty programs. Her work at the World Bank also included contributions to poverty assessments with analysis of vulnerability to poverty and safety nets in Guatemala. In addition to her research at the World Bank, she consulted for the Innocenti Research Center in a joint project with ILO, World Bank and UNICEF on child labor in Guatemala. She has published numerous articles in peer-review journals as well as contributed to several books in her field.

Dr. Gustafsson-Wright received her Ph.D. in Economics in 2007 from the Tinbergen Institute at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Her doctoral work analyzed the impacts of social capital on vulnerability to poverty and primary education and malnutrition in Guatemala. Prior to her doctoral studies, she received a Master’s of Science in Applied Economics and Finance from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She also has Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California at Santa Cruz where she graduated with highest honors in the major and college honors.