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.
  • Tag: esther-duflo

    Found 4 posts.

    3 good examples of the impact of impact evaluations

    By - 19 de July de 2012, 8:16 pm

    examples of impact of impact evaluationsA few weeks ago, I published a blog post on some of the unsettling implications of this paper that suggested that some interventions lose their punch when done by public agencies.

    One of the takeaways was the need to “go up the bureaucratic supply chain” as nicely put by Justin Sandefur in a tweet on the post.

    In other words, the need to jump over the “challenge of implementation” hurdle as Gabriel Demombynes described in his excellent blog.

    Just as Esther Duflo has argued that we need to understand that the environment in which people make decisions is very different for the poor than for the rich, we also need to understand that institutions (in a general sense) are endogenous in impact evaluations.

    Just as we know that most vaccines will not be as effective (and sometimes even harmful) when they are not kept frozen or refrigerated, it is important to acknowledge that many interventions could backfire when incentives differ significantly from the experimental setting.

    Understanding institutional frameworks seems critical if impact is to have any scale.

    So, how do we build that capacity to evaluate impact in challenging institutional settings?

    Let me suggest one direction. Read more…

    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…

    A lesson from economist Esther Duflo

    By - 5 de April de 2011, 8:00 am

    Esther Duflo

    Recently, as part of the 150th anniversary of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), renowned economist Esther Duflo made a passionate plea for the importance of measuring and comparing what we know and what we don’t know in order to determine which development policies work and which do not.

    I recommend that you read her presentation and reflect on her message. Read more…

    Development in Latin America: why it matters to know what projects work

    By - 22 de March de 2011, 7:00 am

    When the Chinese Premier Zhou En Lai was asked about the impact of the French Revolution, he reportedly said it is too early to tell.

    For a development bank such as the IDB, which lends more than US$12 billion a year, it is never too soon to know the impact of Bank-financed funded projects, or which policies have the best chances of success.

    And why does it matter? According to Esther Duflo, one of the world’s most influential young economists, it is important because more than one billion people across the globe live on less than a dollar a day; and because more than nine million boys and girls die each year before reaching the age of five, the majority from diseases that are easily and completely treatable.

    Read more…