Research Areas

Education, Health and Population Dynamics (EHPD)

The Education, Health and Population Dynamics (EHPD) program is the anchor of CSEA’s activities in the areas of human capital development, labor markets and urbanization. EHPD comprises five research components that focus on the following policy issues.

Learning Achievement

After a long period of focusing on school enrolment, policymakers are shifting attention to the quality of education received in institutions of learning, from primary through tertiary levels, and on strategies to improve learning achievement. CSEA’s research focuses on the relationship between school quality and learning outcomes, with a view to enhancing the impact of educational policies.

Returns to Education and Training

Formal wage employment is declining in most African countries and informal self-employment is expanding rapidly as a result. Indeed, it is estimated that 90 percent of future jobs especially for young people will be in the informal sector where earnings and other conditions are on average inferior to the formal sector. In spite of the state of the labor market, demand for education continues to increase at all levels, particularly at the tertiary level, creating an excess supply of education and increasing unemployment. CSE’s research in this area examines selection into employment categories, returns to education in multi-sectoral labor markets, and strategies for social protection and development of the informal sector.

Youth Unemployment and Job Creation

African countries are facing the challenge of high youth unemployment arising from a bulge of the youth population and lack of inclusive growth in recent history. Governments and policymakers are interested in addressing the challenge before it reaches a “spring” level. CSEA’s research examines the structure of the labor market, analyzes the constraints affecting job creation and proposes strategies for tacking youth unemployment.


The impending youth bulge in many countries portends non-trivial implications for urbanization, growth of cities and expansion of urban slums, with attendant consequences such as city congestion and deterioration in urban health and security. Potential solutions to the impending crisis include development of new cities and intermediate metropolitan areas. This research component examines these strategies and how they can be achieved.

Maternal and Child Health

Maternal and child mortality rates are high and contribute to high fertility rates and delay of demographic transition in many African countries. This component of CSEA’s research examines the impact of programs and initiatives designed to improve on these health outcomes.