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.
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    Impact evaluation, cost effectiveness and cost benefit analysis: back to the future?

    By - 9 de February de 2012, 7:22 am

    In the last decade, attention has increasingly been placed on measuring and establishing the causality of the impact that development projects or interventions – either privately or publicly funded – have on an outcome of interest.

    In many areas such as health, education and social protection there is an emerging consensus on how to estimate the causal impact of interventions. In other areas, such as water, sanitation, or transportation, where randomization or quasi experiments are more challenging, there is a growing body of literature.

    Even “softer” interventions in areas such as institutional development, governance or crime prevention, the analysis and the evidence are increasingly “harder”.

    It is unquestionable that this surge of rigorous impact evaluations is having a deep effect on policy formulation and project design and analysis in both public and private development entities.

    A cursory review of government (developed and emerging), local and international NGOs, think tanks or development bank’s web sites reveals an impressive emergence of impact evaluations and their effect on policy and project formulation.

    The number of public and private institutions that will primarily fund projects based on clear evidence on causality is increasing. A quick glance at the syllabi in leading graduate schools suggests that this surge will probably be sustained in the future with newly minted economists, sociologists, or political scientists versant in rigorous impact analysis.

    And if one layers and links this surge with the emergence of behavioral economics, one can only conclude that development practice and theory has been nudged to a new and better level.

    Is this giving us a false sense of comfort? Read more…