Grounding the Advocacy Argument: Measuring the national budget effects of improving Roma education levels in the USAID Countries of Albania, Serbia and Macedonia

March, 2014 to May, 2015

A lack of data on Roma in most European countries hinders private and public efforts to improve the situation of the poorest and most marginalized minority on the continent. Hungary is a special case where detailed individual data is available on employment, earnings and consumption, there is a representative survey that helps assessing ethnic differences in these, and there is additional information on education outcomes, welfare receipt and other important factors. With these data, Central European University (CEU) Professor Gabor Kezdi, together with his Hungarian Academy of Sciences colleague, Gabor Kertesi, developed a methodology to measure governmental cost savings and tax revenue generated through improving the education of the country’s Roma citizens. The methodology and framework, described below, can be replicated in other countries, including for other ethnic minorities in other geographic contexts, but only when data actually exists.

CEU proposes to work out proposals for similar studies in the USAID countries of Albania, Serbia and Macedonia. In addition, the project is seeking matched funding from the Roma Education Fund in order to invite participants from Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia to share their experiences since the tribal structure of the Roma population is similar in these countries to the USAID partner countries of Albania, Serbia and Macedonia.