You may start with a few questions, such as:
Are schools wheelchair accessible? Do disabled children have a chance to receive high-quality education despite being “different”? How well trained are teachers to be inclusive of children with disabilities?
Over a billion people, about 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. Most of them live in developing countries. Every day, they tend to face different forms of discrimination and social exclusion.
Despite these challenges, persons with disabilities can flourish in society, as proved by the studies of Professor Tom Shakespeare from the UK’s University of East Anglia.
In the first phase, before I came here, I heard the stereotypes about Belarus’s reputation, the simple clichés spread about by journalists too lazy to recognize the country’s complexity. You know them as well as me: “the last dictatorship in Europe”, “the last remnant of the Soviet Union”, the republic of potatoes, the land of grey buildings and grey skies.
My post earlier this week on dissipating effects of cash transfers on adults in beneficiary households has caused not only a fair amount of disturbance in the development community, but also a decent amount of confusion about the three-year impacts of GiveDirectly’s cash transfers, from a working paper by Haushofer and Shapiro (2018) – HS (18) from hereon. At least some, including GiveDirectly itself and some academics, seem to think that one can reasonably interpret the findings in HS (18) to imply that the short-term effects of GD, also by Haushofer and Shapiro (2016) – HS (16) from hereon – were sustained three years post treatment. Below, I try to clear up the confusion regarding the evidence and explain why I vigorously disagree with that interpretation.
Plenty of vibrant discussions on the role of cash transfers in the ‘graduation’ agenda…
Banerjee et al are back with a new NBER paper on the classic graduation model (a package of assets, training, coaching, and savings). They explore two variants: whether the transfer of assets only would generate similar impacts, and whether access to a savings account and a deposit collection service would generate comparable impacts. Neither outperforms the holistic package. Similarly, a CSAE paper by Sedlmayr et al assesses graduation variants in Uganda--the full package of transfers and training, only the transfers, transfers with only a light-touch training and just attempting to boost savings. They find that cash only was less effective than the more integrated interventions.
- Sylvain Chabé-Ferret from the Toulouse School of Economics takes stock in The Empirical Revolution in Economics: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead. He proposes 8 knowledge achievements of the empirical revolution in economics, 4 methodological advances, 3 major challenges, and 3 proposed solutions.
Sue Dynarski from University of Michigan has a talk on "how to communicate with policymakers": "All communication is basically the same. Good communication is concise and it's to the point and it's concrete. And that's true for research writing... It's true for teaching... It's true if you're speaking to the public or to the media... It's just that people differ in how much they really have to listen to you." Policy makers don't have to listen to you. "Speaking in plain English is super important." She recommends Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. I do, too.
Matthew Jukes from RTI proposes a "context-mechanisms-outcomes approach" to doing and reporting impact evaluations in his piece "Learning more from impact evaluations: Contexts, mechanisms and theories of literacy instruction interventions," in order to get the most out of evaluaitons, and he gives examples from a recent literacy intervention in Kenya.
Over at the IFPRI blog, Tracy Brown reports on impact evaluations of "food-assisted maternal and child health and nutrition" programs in Guatemala and Burundi. In Burundi, "the largest impact on stunting was experienced by those who received food assistance throughout the entire period of the first 1,000 days, from conception to a child’s second birthday." (Blog 1, blog 2, with blog 3 coming soon here.)
Alice Evans's 4 Questions podcast has featured several Development Impact-relevant stories in the last couple of weeks, including Pam Jakiela and Owen Ozier discussing "the impact of conflict on people's preferences" for risk, Michael Woolcock on the value of mixed methods in understanding "what works," and me talking about an impact evaluation to improve health care management in Nigeria as well as about the World Development Report on Education.
At Oxford's conference at the Center for the Study of African Economies, DFID Chief Economist Rachel Glennerster -- who has worked extensively in policy and in academia – discussed the differences as she sees them, summarized below. You can watch her full talk here.
At the One Planet Summit in December 2017, French President Emanuel Macron cautioned that “we are losing the battle” on climate change and are “nowhere near” being able to contain rising temperatures to between 1.5°C to 2°C. Instead, Macron warned, temperatures could rise by 3.5°C or more by the end of this century.
Altering the trajectory of carbon emissions will require implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the individual country commitments agreed in Paris. Fiscal policies have a key role to play in this process: about one third of the NDCs include references to specific fiscal incentives -clean-energy subsidies, energy taxes, carbon taxes, or a combination thereof - in their NDCs. However, the effectiveness of finance ministers in incorporating climate action into their work presents mixed results. Although explicit fossil-fuel subsidies have fallen, fiscal policies in most countries continue to favor fossil fuels over renewable energy. Consider these points uncovered by recent studies:
This was not always the case.
When it comes to economic success, Tanzania offers a model for the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth has averaged 6.5 percent per year over the past decade, and between 2007 and 2012 nearly a third of the poorest 40% of the population rose out of poverty. However, the progress towards improving water and sanitation access for all has not kept a similar pace.
A new report by the World Bank, ‘Reaching For The SDGs’ was launched by the Honorable Eng. Isack Kamwelwe, Minister of Water and Irrigation on March 20 in Dar es Salaam. In her welcome address, Ms. Bella Bird, Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, and Burundi said, “adequate WASH is a crucial component of basic human necessities that allow a person to thrive in life”. The report shows how water and sanitation services need to advance substantially in order to achieve much needed improvements in health and wellbeing that will help the country fulfill its true potential. Progress in this area still has a long way to go.
Political violence, conflict, and inequality are closely related, but not necessarily in the ways that people think. Countries in which there is great inequality between rich and poor do not experience more violent conflict than countries with less economic inequality. In contrast, inequalities between groups defined by religion, ethnicity, or regional identities are linked to a significantly higher risk of armed conflict. The good news is that while income inequality between individuals is increasing, identity group-based inequality seems to be decreasing. This could lead to less conflict in the future.