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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.

 

The monument to an anonymous reviewer in Moscow

A Better Process for Better Evidence: My Review of Open Review

Peer review is an important part of establishing the credibility and quality of research, yet it has been controversial since its inception. My recent experience with a relatively new approach which publishes reviewers’ comments along with their names—open peer review—led me to reflect on the not so subtle ways it altered the way I refereed a paper. I was originally lukewarm to the idea. But after trying it out, thinking on it, and reading a little further, I've decided I'm all for it.

CGD-J-PAL event on measuring women's empowerment

We Can’t Measure Women’s Empowerment the Same Way Everywhere—But Should We Try?

Measuring empowerment is a perennial challenge for those of us evaluating programs targeting women. Last Wednesday’s launch of J-PAL’s new Practical Guide to Measuring Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in Impact Evaluations at CGD was an exciting opportunity be inspired by impact evaluation powerhouse Rachel Glennerster, the former Executive Director of J-PAL and current Chief Economist at DFID, while simultaneously getting a bit discouraged about the quality of existing quantitative measures of empowerment. Here are a few takeaways for economists doing impact evaluations.

The World Bank Now Has Three Poverty Lines. Why Not Three for Energy?

The World Bank now has three benchmarks for measuring poverty. The “headline” extreme poverty threshold of $1.90/day will stay, but two new international poverty lines were added for lower middle-income ($3.20/day) and upper middle-income ($5.50/day) countries. While it’s great that the World Bank is bringing a little more nuance to the way we define poverty, it's still a repackaging of Lant Pritchett’s kinky development.

The (Sometime) Tyranny of (Somewhat) Arbitrary Income Lines

As Lant Pritchett reports, the World Bank has introduced two new poverty lines: $3.20 for lower middle income countries, and $5.50 for upper middle income countries. I’m with Lant that this is broadly a good thing. But the process by which the World Bank came up with its new poverty lines suggests it might be worth revisiting some of the pitfalls of income thresholds at the individual or national level. 

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