I've studied the educational conditional cash transfer literature and I know it has been popular amongst development economists. But it seems that underfunded and potentially corrupt bureaucracies of developing countries are the ones that have to pay for it.

Inspired by Poor Economics, Guns Germs and Steel, and the current high demand for highly educated software talent, this idea of "industry-driven conditional cash transfer" came to me and I am curious whether it has been experimentally researched in formal development economics literature?

Essentially think "educational conditional cash transfer" except instead of governments, corporations that need well educated talent pay for it.

A for profit company, for profit bank, or social entrepreneur might do the following:

Create Knowledge Workers

  1. Pay a few majority world people to learn and master a skill (i.e. software development or design).
  2. Find a company or person in a developed country who has a need for a person with that particular skill and is open to hiring a remote worker.
  3. Make the match and take either a finder’s fee or a cut on the hourly rate. Use these earnings to pay for education of more majority worlders.
  4. Majority worlders making 10–20K USD per year bring a huge amount of money into their communities. The wealth spreads to their day laborers, restaurants, shops, service providers, educational institutions, etc.


Create Entrepreneurs

  1. Pay a few majority world people to learn and master a skill (i.e. entrepreneurship or design or engineering).

  2. Invest in the majority world entrepreneur’s idea with a founder-friendly convertible SAFE note.

  3. Reap rewards when their endeavors succeed.

There is an instantiation of the above process in a platform (called "LD Talent") and it's been an interesting and evolving vision, and similar startups like "Andela" and "Modern Labor" exist, so I'm curious to ask about whether the idea has been tried in an academic setting?

If not, what is the closest thing to this idea that has been tried in an academic development economics study?


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