October 2011

Independent research & practical ideas for global prosperity

Evaluation Gap Update
September 29, 2011
September 29, 2011

In light of the UN General Assembly's attention to Non-Communicable Diseases this month, I remember a Lancet editorial from last year that made a dramatic point: "Evaluation must now beocme the top priority in global health. Currently, it is only an afterthought." This newsletter shows progress toward redressing that problem by financing good impact evaluations and using them in policy decisions. Meanwhile, intellectual debates continue to hone our understanding of the promise and limitations of our research methods.


William D. Savedoff
Senior Fellow

Call for Proposals to Evaluate Social Protection Programs

The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) is seeking proposals to evaluate social protection programs with funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). This is the first thematic window being launched by 3ie and is part of an ongoing drive to fund high quality research in particular sectors. For these proposals, 3ie is defining social protection broadly to include a range of interventions. The deadline for submissions is November 7, 2011.

U.S. Embraces Systematic Evaluations in Domestic Programs

Building the Connection between Policy and Evidence: the Obama Evidence-Based Initiatives,” by Ron Haskins and Jon Baron, describes six U.S. initiatives that use experimental approaches to evaluate public programs. This includes $125 million approved in April for a Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund aimed at improving educational and employment outcomes. Jon Baron is the President of theCoalition for Evidence-Based Policy whose role in promoting these initiatives is also described. The paper was commissioned by a group that is promoting similar initiatives through the “U.K. Alliance for Evidence.”

Journal of Economic Perspectives Tackles Questions about Field Experiments

The summer issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives addresses the use of field experiments in the social sciences. The four articles include an overview by John A. List, “Why Economics Should Conduct Field Experiments and 14 Tips for Pulling One Off” which discusses the full range of field experiment methods (laboratory, “artefactual”, framed, and natural) and how they complement non-experimental studies. (The ups and downs of implementing such studies are highlighted in a recent posting by Markus Goldstein.)

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