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Emily Gustafsson-Wright is a fellow in the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. She specializes in applied microeconomic research within the fields of education and health with regional focuses in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. Her current focus on effective delivery of social services including education and health interventions in developing countries has consolidated her role as a global expert on innovative financing mechanisms including payment by results, public-private partnerships, and impact investing.

She is the premier thought-leader and convener in the emerging field of social and development impact bonds and has written an unprecedented five publications on this cutting-edge topic, including her most recent study, which examines early learnings from impact bonds in low and middle-income countries. She is regularly invited to contribute to high-level global conversations on impact bonds and outcome-based financing and has convened the largest global gatherings on these mechanisms to date.

Her work also focuses on examining the challenges to scaling up early childhood development (ECD) in developing countries, including the constraints around financing, capacity and quality of services, knowledge gaps, and political support for ECD. Most recently, she led an effort to establish quality data on the costs of ECD, which included leading a multi-agency working group, and developing the Standardized ECD Costing Tool (SECT), an instrument for collecting and analyzing cost data across the full spectrum of ECD interventions, which was piloted in five countries.

With nearly 20 years of experience in development, her previous professional experience includes working at the World Bank, the UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, and as senior researcher with the Amsterdam Institute for International Development (AIID). Gustafsson-Wright holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Tinbergen Institute at the University of Amsterdam, as well as a Master’s of Science in Applied Economics and Finance and a 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. She has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as contributed to several books in her field.

Emily Gustafsson-Wright is a fellow in the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. She specializes in applied microeconomic research within the fields of education and health with regional focuses in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. Her current focus on effective delivery of social services including education and health interventions in developing countries has consolidated her role as a global expert on innovative financing mechanisms including payment by results, public-private partnerships, and impact investing.

She is the premier thought-leader and convener in the emerging field of social and development impact bonds and has written an unprecedented five publications on this cutting-edge topic, including her most recent study, which examines early learnings from impact bonds in low and middle-income countries. She is regularly invited to contribute to high-level global conversations on impact bonds and outcome-based financing and has convened the largest global gatherings on these mechanisms to date.

Her work also focuses on examining the challenges to scaling up early childhood development (ECD) in developing countries, including the constraints around financing, capacity and quality of services, knowledge gaps, and political support for ECD. Most recently, she led an effort to establish quality data on the costs of ECD, which included leading a multi-agency working group, and developing the Standardized ECD Costing Tool (SECT), an instrument for collecting and analyzing cost data across the full spectrum of ECD interventions, which was piloted in five countries.

With nearly 20 years of experience in development, her previous professional experience includes working at the World Bank, the UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, and as senior researcher with the Amsterdam Institute for International Development (AIID). Gustafsson-Wright holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Tinbergen Institute at the University of Amsterdam, as well as a Master’s of Science in Applied Economics and Finance and a 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. She has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as contributed to several books in her field.

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