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A working paper distributed this month by NBER and covered in the New York Times not only contributes to the growing number of rigorous studies on public policy questions but also epitomizes changing research norms that are crucial to improving the quality of such studies.
I am a big admirer of Nick Kristof, of the passion and concern that animate his books and columns, and of the must-do-can-do spirit that they embody. But sometimes his soft heart gets ahead of the hard head, leading to misleading and intellectually insupportable advocacy of foreign aid. A good example is today’s column.
I was dismayed to learn recently that school-based deworming in Kenya -- one of the most celebrated and cost-effective successes in global development in 2009 -- was not repeated in 2010. The story of how that happened offers an object lesson in the gritty difficulties of translating evidence into policy.
A new year calls for a development policy wish list. My wish list is about what the rich and powerful global actors– mostly but not solely in the United States – can do to improve lives among the poor and vulnerable around the world in the coming year.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week named Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin of Nigeria to be the next executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), replacing Dr. Thoraya Obaid who held the position for 10 years. Dr. Osotimehin is a professor of medicine at Ibadan University. He served a brief time as Minister of Health in Nigeria and supported several controversial global health efforts, including polio elimination and increasing access to treatment for HIV/AIDS.
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.
This entry was also published on the Huffington Post.
I was going to blog about the illogic of the proposed amendment to health care legislation allowing the importation of lower-priced drugs from Canada, but Ezra Klein of the Washington Post beat me to it. As he notes, referring to floor comments by Senator David Vitter (R-LA):
This week The New York Times Magazine is dedicated to a single theme: women. The main attraction of this special issue is a stirring essay by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who write passionately about the great moral, national security and economic development imperatives of investing in the world’s women and girls. The “women’s crusade” they call for seems already to have begun. A few pages beyond, an interview with Secretary Clinton heralds the start of a “new gender agenda” at the highest reaches of the U.S. foreign policy. Also noted is the growing philanthropic attention to the cause of women and girls – a trend that will be further evidenced next month, when the issue headlines at the annual (Bill) Clinton Global Initiative meetings in NYC.