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Simon Maxwell has a fantastic posting here on why the recent focus on results-based aid has some development professionals shifting uncomfortably in their seats. In the UK, the new Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell has promised results and value for money in UK aid spending, invoking Cash on Delivery Aid to my delight.
The most important thing about Robert Zoellick’s speech at Georgetown yesterday is that the president of the World Bank gave a speech about research – development economics research, that is -- in the run-up to the Bank’s annual meeting.
This is a joint post with William Savedoff.
Policymakers, researchers, and development experts gathered at CGD on May 4 to discuss the implications of existing research on conditional cash transfers (CCTs) and recommend ways for the development community to improve impact evaluations of interventions, like CCTs, in the future. The workshop, entitled Closing the Evaluation Gap: 3ie One Year On (Are Conditional Cash Transfer Programs Improving Human Capital?), was jointly hosted by CGD and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), and included a series of presentations and high-level panel discussions focused on the effect of CCT programs on outcomes such as educational attainment, grade progression, birth weight, and access to family planning methods.
In a recent blog post, Evaluation Gap Working Group co-chair and CGD senior fellow William Savedoff explained the motivation for the workshop, highlighting the heightened need to address the ways in which evidence and policymaking interact, as well as the importance of continued improvements in evaluation systems in determining the efficacy of social interventions. We were thrilled with the positive responses from the workshop’s participants and audience members, and invigorated by the discussion and recommendations that arose as a result of the event.
The World Bank announced this week that it will providing “free, open and easy access to World Bank statistics and indicators about development.” It is an important step for the Bank. First and foremost because it will facilitate more research and better-informed writing about development issues; but also because it recognizes that this kind of information is exactly the kind of public good that the World Bank should be producing.
A recent New York Times article gives a real time lesson in the relationship between good impact evaluations (which often provide a lot of useful nuanced information) and policymaking (which thrives on big messages while trying to accommodate political, social and cultural pressures).
I recently made a public plea for rigorous evaluation of the U.N. Millennium Village Project (MVP), an experimental effort to break African villages out of poverty traps with a large package of outside assistance. The public response from the MVP left me puzzled.
You might know that I am writing a book about microfinance in public, via blogus. I'm working on the last chapter now, and that has me in a reflective mood. Here, I'd like to share one big idea that I discovered by writing the book. I am fired up about it, and I'd appreciate feedback on whether it is dumb, old, useless, or all three.
On Monday, I will join USAID as Director of Evaluation, Policy Analysis & Learning. In this position, I'll be supporting initiatives that are already underway to apply the best available evidence to decisions at many levels, and to generate new knowledge as an integral part of the agency’s work.
I attended a conference convened and hosted by Jean-Michel Severino, the head of the French bilateral agency, outside Paris last week. The question participants addressed was: What should be the goals of the international development community in the post-MDG period after 2015? Should the MDGs be retrofitted and complemented with goals