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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Improving Development Policy through Impact Evaluations: Then, Now, and Next?

In 2006, CGD published a working group report that addressed the insufficient number of rigorous impact evaluations of social programs in low- and middle-income countries. Last week —marking 10 years since the report’s release—CGD and J-PAL co-hosted the event, “Improving Development Policy through Impact Evaluation,” which echoed three key messages of the 2006 report: 1) conduct more and better evaluations; 2) connect evaluators and policymakers; and 3) recognize that impact evaluations are an important global public good that requires more unconstrained funding.

Unlocking Opportunities for Women with Smart Design

More than 30 years ago, the late development economist Mahbub Ul-Haq summarized progress on global women’s issues as a story of ‘expanding capabilities and restricted opportunities.’ This motto still applies today, with one very important difference: major advancements in research now provide the evidence to do something about it. And this something may not be as daunting a task or require as many resources as previously thought. The assumption has been that targeted investments increase women’s capabilities and then women change the world.

World Bank Presidents, Ranked: From McNamara to Kim

The United States is pushing to re-elect the World Bank’s twelfth consecutive American president. Does he deserve another term? Both lending growth and project performance at the Bank appear weak by historical standards, but evaluating a bank with no profit motive is inherently difficult.

Please Avoid Unintended Consequences When Designing New Anti-Money Laundering Policies

A recent flurry of legislative activity has seen the introduction of four bills that aim to crack down on the financing of terrorism. While it is very important to combat money laundering and the financing of terror, the actions can result in unintended negative consequences for poor countries as well. We like some things in these new bills, but they also leave a lot to be desired.

230 Indicators Approved for SDG Agenda

The United Nations Statistical Commission’s Interagency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) agreed on 230 individual indicators to monitor the 17 goals and 169 targets of the SDGs. We now have a complete picture of the SDG agenda for the next 15 years, right? Not quite.

Impact Evaluation: How the Wonkiest Subject in the World Got Traction

“3ie has made my job much easier.” This is what we heard last month from a high-ranking government official in Africa, referring to the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), and it made us very proud. Creating 3ie was the outcome of the Evaluation Gap Working Group that we led along with Nancy Birdsall to address the limited number of rigorous impact evaluation of public policies in developing countries. As CGD celebrates its 15th year, it is worth considering what made that working group so successful, the obstacles we confronted, and the work that still remains to be done.

New Initiative in India Is Mobilizing Communities to Improve Children’s Learning, but Will It Work?

Every year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers in South Asia and East Africa walk many miles crossing rivers, mountains, deserts and farmlands to do something amazing: reach remote rural communities to assess whether children can read or do simple maths. Collectively known as Citizen-led Assessments (CLA), every year they show that most children are going to school but less than half of them can read or write at grade level. However, in spite of these universally damning reports, policy change to improve children’s learning has been painfully slow. So the NGO Pratham that started this movement is turning its army of volunteer data collectors into change agents to mobilize entire communities and raise awareness about the learning crisis across India.