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: poverty

    Found 8 posts.

    Latin America and the Caribbean should tap into big data to reduce the cost of measuring poverty

    By - 14 de May de 2018, 12:36 pm

    By Luis Tejerina and Juan Miguel Villa

    Korean peninsula

    Korean peninsula seen from space at night.

    According to the US government, the 2020 census could cost as much as $15.6 billion, or $49 per inhabitant. While in developing countries, according to a study of 77 countries carried out by Development Initiatives, the average cost of conducting a household survey ranges from $1 million to $1.6 million,

    These initiatives to calculate a country’s population or to measure poverty levels are important for guiding public policy decision-making. But gathering data is often done haphazardly and is expensive– especially for developing countries. Read more…

    How Do We Know if We Are Improving Lives? Multidimensional Poverty and Subjective Well-Being

    By - 27 de June de 2016, 3:54 pm

    The mission of the IDB is to work with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to improve the lives of their citizens. However, this process is not an exact science, so it is not always easy to ascertain whether that objective is being achieved. How can we know for certain that Bank-supported projects are helping people live more prosperously?

    Subjective Well-Being

    Image: iStock

    Responding to this question is not easy, above all because measuring improvements in people’s lives can involve different factors. How can such a measurement be undertaken? By carrying out a cost-benefit analysis or an impact evaluation with experimental methodologies for a specific project? By calculating reductions in poverty rates? By measuring levels of satisfaction and happiness of citizens before and after implementation of a public policy?

    Read more…

    Turning trash into light – Liter of light

    By - 8 de March de 2016, 4:20 pm

    By Carmen Fernández-Sánchez

    The simple act of filling recycled plastic bottles with water and chlorine has allowed light to enter millions of previously unlit homes around the globe. What’s more, this innovation has saved low-income families up to 40% on electricity bills.

    Liter of Light

    Moser Light Bulb

    No-one could have told Alfredo Moser, a Brazilian mechanic,  that his invention would spread across the world and be installed hundreds of thousands of homes, while he continued to lead a humble life, living in a modest house and driving a car made in 1974. Read more…

    When you are 64

    By - 9 de December de 2013, 10:13 am

    65 eng

    Right after you sing this to the tune of the Beatles song “When I’m 64”

    Sent you a pension, wrote you a check

    Stating full amount

    Indicate precisely how much is your min

    And please tell us your next of kin

    This is to help you avoid the fall

    Who could ask for more

    We will support you, staying alive

    When you’re sixty-five

    Tu ru ru tutu tu ru ru tuuu turuuu tu turuuu

    Please read this paper bearing in mind that 77 percent of Mexicans are not covered by any contributory pension scheme.

    The abstract

    The creation of non-contributory pension schemes is becoming increasingly common as countries struggle to reduce poverty. Drawing on data from Mexico’s Adultos Mayores Program (Older Adults Program) ‐a cash transfer scheme aimed at rural adults over 70 years of age‐ we evaluate the effects of this program on the well‐being of the beneficiary population.

    Exploiting a quasi–‐experimental design whereby the program relies on exogenous geographical and age cutoffs to identify its target group, we find that the mental health of elderly adults in the program is significantly improved, as their score on the Geriatric Depression Scale decreases by 12%.

    We also find that the proportion of treated individuals doing paid work is reduced by 20%, with most of these people switching from their former activities to work in family businesses; treated households show higher levels of consumption expenditures (on average, an increase of 23%). Very importantly, we also rule out significant anticipation effects that might have been associated with the program transfers.

    Thus, overall, we find that non–‐contributory pension schemes target to the poor in developing countries can improve the well-being of poor older adults without having any indirect impact (through potential anticipation effects) on the earnings or savings of future program participants.

    Shelter from the storm

    By - 4 de June de 2013, 12:13 pm

    Un Techo J-PAL

    In 1997, a small group of Chilean students started working as volunteers in poor areas in the beautiful Bio Bio region in Chile. A few years later, the group decided to start building provisional emergency housing – called mediaguas in Chile – designed to house a family of four.

    In 2000, over 600 volunteers helped build 5,700 houses, under the umbrella of an NGO originally called “Un Techo para Chile”- a Roof for Chile. Fast forward. Today “Techo” operates in 20 countries, including the US, has mobilized over 600,000 volunteers and has help build over 90,000 houses in 19 countries in Latin America.

    Techo houses are typically made of out of wood or aluminum, are approximately 18m2 and take one to two days to build by a team of 6 to 12 people at an approximate unit cost of US$1,000, where the beneficiary contributes with 10% of this cost.

    Techo targets the poorest informal settlements and the households within these settlements that live in sub-standard housing. Although typically these houses are improvements in shelter in terms of flooring, roof, and walls, the new house does not come with sanitation, bathroom, kitchen or amenities such as plumbing, drinking water, or gas.

    A few years back, Techo asked J-PAL to conduct a rigorous Impact Evaluation of its work in Uruguay, Mexico and El Salvador. J-PAL put together a top team: Sebastian Galiani (U. Maryland), Paul Gertler (Berkeley), Ryan Cooper (JPAL), Sebastián Martinez (IDB), Adam Ross (World Bank) and Raimundo Undurraga (JPAL)

    The experimental design is based on the selection of beneficiary families on a lottery basis giving each family an equal opportunity to receive the upgrade within a given year in a given settlement.  J-PAL’s experimental design is then based on exploiting randomization of treatment at the household level within settlements (cluster), with eligible households assigned to treatment and control groups within each settlement.  An important feature of this evaluation is that it allows the same intervention in three different contexts: El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay.

    The study looked at several outcome variables including satisfaction with the house and life satisfaction, security, assets, labor supply, and child health, all contingent on Techo providing an improvement in terms of the quality of housing.

    What were the results? Read more…

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