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Development that Works
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    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Winds of Change in Uruguay



    Por Steven Collins*

    Uruguay is demonstrating that there is more to renewable energy than lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

    The Palmatir Wind Project in Uruguay | Photo: Palmatir’s project.

    The Palmatir Wind Project in Uruguay | Photo: Palmatir’s project.

    Renewable energy is a big deal inUruguay; over two-thirds of the country’s energy comes from hydropower. However, droughts in past years have left the country’s reservoirs dangerously low, and as a result, hydropower facilities have struggled to meet the country’s rising energy demands. To help, Uruguay has turned to the private sector to kick-start the development of other renewable energy technologies, primarily wind and solar. There are now dozens of projects, both public and private, making Uruguay’s energy sector a greener industry, and the country is now focused intensely not only on achieving ambitious nationwide green energy goals, but also on better understanding and incorporating environmental and social concerns as it works to meet those goals. Read more…

    Your New Gateway to Impact Evaluation




    Learn how to make evaluation:

    Learn how to evaluate impacts:

    We are delighted to announce the launch of the Inter-American Development Bank’s Impact Evaluation  Hub, a “one stop shop” for everything you need (well, almost) for an impact evaluation (IE). The hub provides links to many excellent resources on the web, as well as an array of documents unique to the portal available in English and Spanish for users to download and adapt for their own purposes. The portal’s structure broadly follows the  sequence of  an impact evaluation: (1) Design, (2) Implementation, (3) Data collection, (4) Analysis and dissemination, and a cross-cutting (5) Learning section. We invite you to explore the following five links: Read more…

    A Constant Pursuit of Development: Lessons from the IDB to the World



    Exchange of ideas

    Development Effectiveness Overview | Website: | PDF

    At the Inter-American Development Bank we are devoted to being the best development partner for Latin America and the Caribbean. To that end we ensure that every project meets the highest quality standards in each stage of the project: design, implementation and completion.

    In 2014 we approved 105 loans for the public sector, for a total of US$11 billion and 63 loans for the private sectors with a value of US$2.8 billion. At the end of every year, we make a conscious effort to pause and reflect on what worked and didn’t work in our operations. We lay out all of these lessons in the IDB’s  corporate results report the “Development Effectiveness Overview,” commonly known among my colleagues as the DEO. We at the IDB love acronyms!

    Read more…

    Are School Funds like a Party Cake? Taking Leftovers Home



    school window

    Imagine that you are a parent and that last year you contributed US$20 to your child’s school to buy cleaning supplies, fix broken windows and pay for the phone service. Different from last year, now imagine that this year you get to choose with other parents what to do with government funds that could be used to buy cleaning supplies, fix broken windows, and pay for the phone service in the school. What would you do? Well, if you could use some of the government funds to pay for those expenses and reduce the voluntary contributions, you could buy your child other needed things at home.

    Do parents take some of the government funds home via a decrease of voluntary contributions? Are they treating school funds like a party cake where you can split it and take a piece home?

    In a recent study, we test this idea. Read more…

    Once the Colombian conflict ends: Where will the internally displaced population go?



    By Ana María Ibáñez**

    Displaced Colombia

    The end of a conflict poses new challenges. Post-conflict is a fragile period: political forces need to accommodate to the new realities, a flow of ex-combatants enter the society, victims become active political actors claiming truth and restitution, and uncertainty is still high, among others. This implies that the risk of the war resuming is ten times higher than before the war started (Hegre et al, 2001).

    The return of internally displaced population (IDP) is among the many challenges in post-conflict periods. The ease of violence allows IDP to settle in permanently and must decide whether to return to their hometown, stay in the host destination or resettle in other region. The return of IDP to their hometown provides some benefits and entails significant challenges. Return increases the chances of IDP recovering their assets and social networks as well as resuming economic activities in a familiar setting. Better knowledge about social norms, markets and informal institutions of their hometowns helps families to connect rapidly to labor markets and economic opportunities. Nonetheless, resuming economic activities may require large investments and institutional support. In addition, the hometowns of IDP usually were amidst intense conflict and destruction, implying markets eroded or disappeared, social dynamics changed and institutions were weakened.

    Few IDP return to their hometown after the conflict ends. Data of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates only 3.2% of IDP returns. A recent survey for Colombian IDP reveals 20% of them are willing to return to their hometown.

    What drives the return of IDP to their hometown?

    A paper I wrote with María Alejandra Arias and Pablo Querubín examines the correlates of the desire to return of Colombian IDP. We use a household survey that asks displaced households about their preferences to i) return to the municipality of origin; ii) stay in the current reception municipality; or iii) relocate to a new municipality. Since the survey was applied during the most intense period of the Colombian conflict, only 11% of households expressed a desire to return.

    Four conclusions emerge from the findings of the paper. Read more…

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