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As we move from traditional agrarian economies to more diversified and complex economies, the advantages to an individual from education rises. If we want a nation’s poor to benefit from growth, improving their educational outcomes is key. Unfortunately, absenteeism—both teacher and student—is a serious problem throughout the developing world.
While many reform ideas have proven helpful in improving educational outcomes in different developing countries, it has proven hard up to now to find simple answers that work across the globe. Nevertheless, new techniques appear to offer considerable promise as a way of tackling issues of improving education for the poor of the developing world.
Poor health is a second major contributor to individual poverty. In the case of many interventions to improve health, human behavior plays an important role, and here is where development economics has focused. As with the area of education, much remains for development economists to understand in the area of health and human behavior.