Despite the growing prominence of global challenges, such as climate change, cross-border health threats, security risks, and financial crises, most development-oriented funds are spent on individual programs in single countries.
With Raj Shah stepping down as USAID Administrator last week, many are taking stock of the numerous accomplishments during his five-year tenure at USAID. One of the unsung achievements of his term was announcing and implementing USAID’s Evaluation Policy.
The global health sector is notorious for requiring a laundry list of indicators to monitor and evaluate programs. A recent WHO report on the burden of indicators and reporting for health quantifies the extent of the problem; some countries are requested to report on as many as 600 indicators (and this is the conservative estimate).
I never cease to be astonished by the amount of energy people put into claiming that Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) are the be-all and end-all of impact evaluation methods; nor at the energy people put into claiming that RCTs are marginal, costly, and a waste of time.
The spread of knowledge and ideas should help close the gap between rich countries and poor. That’s why technology transfer is one of the seven components of CGD’s Commitment to Development Index (CDI).
Many governments try to reduce poverty and inequality through a mixture of taxes, transfers, and public services. Individual policies, such as taxation or cash transfers, are frequently evaluated on how well they address these goals. But the overall impact of a country’s fiscal policy package on poverty and inequality has rarely been subject to systematic analysis—until now.