I just finished reading a fascinating paper on the social impact of urban street paving in Mexico by Marco Gonzalez and Climent Quintana. A previous version of this paper had been presented at the Impact conference in Cuernavaca back in June 2011. It turns out that street paving – mostly with cement - has a significant impact on property values (+43%), land values (+54%) … [Read more...] about Cement is good
What does and doesn't work in development
Improving the quality of education is a challenging task. Even though achieving this goal is a priority on the agenda of every country in Latin America, we do not know too much on how to get there. Rigorous evidence is scarce, and results are mixed on what works. And when effects are found, they are usually small and contingent on a number of conditions dictated by the … [Read more...] about Do we know how to improve the quality of education?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1.3 million people die each year from road accidents. Over 90% of deaths happen in low and middle income countries and it is the leading cause of deaths for young people (15-29). In low income countries, more people die from accidents than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined! The recipe for addressing this issue is … [Read more...] about Just one pesky passenger can save your life
Although the effectiveness of microcredit as a development tool has been recently questioned, its use seems to still be out of the discussion. In 2009, more than 128 million of the world’s poorest families received some sort of microloan (State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report 2011). Supporters of microcredit argue that it alleviates poverty, creates … [Read more...] about Microfinance: big questions and small answers
Solving development challenges is a complex task. Rigorous research show that some programs do not work as intended and that most that do work have no huge impacts. A sensible way to proceed when designing development projects is to be guided by three types of evidence: evidence in the identification of the problem, in the drafting of the solution, and evidence generated from … [Read more...] about Three sources of evidence for solving development challenges