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.
  • Spreading the news: Impact evaluation on video



    Most of the material available on impact evaluation resides in technical papers with very limited readership. Some “interesting” results get exposure in widely read sites such as Freakonomics and then are amplified by public radio stations across the US.

    In the past year some great books have come out that aim to provide more accessible accounts of impact evaluation such as Impact Evaluation in Practice (Spanish version here) and – although a bit more technical – the Guia Práctica para la Evaluación de Impacto, by Universidad de los Andes professors Raquel Bernal and Ximena Peña.

    The popular adage is that a picture is worth a thousand words, and your typical TV minute holds 3,600 images (scary thought if you are watching The Bachelor or The Bachelorette). Difficult concepts can be much better introduced to a wider audience in video format.

    Think of a teenager trying to understand derivatives. With over 3,000 videos the Khan academy´s vision is to become the world’s first free, world-class virtual school where anyone can learn anything for free. MIT publishes on-line over 2,000 courses, many of which are on video, averaging 1 million visitors each month.

    But in this set of courses, and elsewhere – video teaching material on impact evaluation and development policy is scarce – two in MIT´s website. Nevertheless academics, students, researchers and practitioners from institutions such as MIT, the World Bank, Save the Children and the Center for Global Development are increasingly uploading video course material on impact evaluation and development policy topics.

    This is a preliminary list of these videos.

    • An introduction by Bill Savedoff and Ruth Levine, from CGD (a bit old, but still very relevant and pungent).
    • An 8 lesson series on randomized Impact evaluation by the MIT Poverty Action Lab
    • And a 3 lesson series from Save the children

    Here the Red Cross Red Crescent Academic Network on “Impact Evaluations” as part of its efforts to promote continuous learning and increased knowledge sharing.

    In this interview Michael Clemens from CGD talks about rigorous impact evaluations of the Millenium Villages project.

    But I find that one of the most compelling lessons is one from the field, as related by Abdhijit Banerjee in this video (which heads this posting).

    Another very good series of lectures are those prepared for the launch of Impact Evaluation in Practice (in China), which my colleague Sebastian Martinez coauthored. The first lecture by Paul Gertler is a master piece. WARNING: the video links to these lectures are slow as they upload video and slides and do not work in Google´s Chrome web browser.

    In Spanish there is even less material, but a very good introduction is provided in this series where Raquel Bernal presents her book and Orazio Attanazio provides comments.

    Not all of these videos are that entertaining, but all are informative and educational. If impact evaluations can make it there, they can make it anywhere.

    Note: This is a preliminary list of relevant and informative videos. If you have more examples please post a comment and we will up load into this blog.

    And if you made it all the way here, enjoy old blue eyes.

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