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Impact evaluation

The Tao of Impact Evaluation

Markus Goldstein's picture

Is in danger of being messed up.   Here is why:   There are two fundamental reasons for doing impact evaluation: learning and judgment.   Judgment is simple – thumbs up, thumbs down: program continues or not.   Learning is more amorphous – we do impact evaluation to see if a project works, but we try and build in as many ways to understand the results as possible, maybe do a couple of treatment arms so we see what works better than what. In learning evaluations, real failure is a lack of statistical power, more so than the program working or

How do School Vouchers Help Improve Education Systems?

Harry A. Patrinos's picture

This is an excerpt from "School Vouchers Can Help Improve Education Systems" published on the Opinions section of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) website.

As the demand for education increases, resources remain scarce. In most countries, the government is both the major financier as well as the provider of education. However, schooling still does not reach all members of society equally.

One way of financing education is to provide families with the funding – via cash transfers to schools based on enrollments or by providing cash to families to purchase schooling – in other words- through vouchers. The objective of a voucher program is to extend the financial support from the government to these other education providers and thus give all parents, regardless of income, the opportunity to choose the school that best suits their preferences.

DFID's Approach to Impact Evaluation - Part II

Markus Goldstein's picture

As part of a new series looking how institutions are approaching impact evaluation, DI virtually sat down with Nick York, Head of Evaluation and Gail Marzetti, Deputy Head, Research and Evidence Division.   For Part I of this series, see yesterday’s post. Today we focus on DFID’s funding for research and impact evaluation.  

Notes from the field: Making the most of monitoring data

Markus Goldstein's picture

I am in the midst of a trip working on impact evaluations in Ghana and Tanzania and these have really brought home the potential and pitfalls of working with program’s monitoring data.  

In many evaluations, the promise is significant. In some cases, you can even do the whole impact evaluation with program monitoring data (for example when a specific intervention is tried out with a subset of a program’s clients).  However, in most cases a combination of monitoring and survey data is required.

Is our columnists learning?

Markus Goldstein's picture

In a New York Times column last Friday David Brooks discussed a book by Jim Manzi, and extolled the idea of randomized field trials as a way for the US to make better policies. 

While it’s nice to welcome Citizen Brooks into the fold, there are a couple of points in his article worth exploring a bit.  

Benefits of Land Registry Digitization

Aparajita Goyal's picture

It is increasingly recognized that well-defined property rights are crucial for realizing the benefits of market exchange and that such rights are not exogenously given but evolve over time in response to economic and political forces. The reduction of expropriation risk and the facilitation of market transactions are the two main categories through which property rights systems affect economic outcomes. However, the mechanisms by which these two categories affect outcomes differ in important ways.

Making Schools Work: Lessons from an Information Campaign in India

Harry A. Patrinos's picture

My last two blogs, Lessons on School-Based Management from a Randomized Experiment and Empowering Parents to Improve Schooling: Powerful Evidence from Rural Mexico, have focused on empowering parents to help increase accountability in schools. However, too often, decentralization programs are designed without adequately conveying the messages about their purpose to the intended audiences; or, it is done in such a way that the program is rendered useless. 

Using CCTs to Reduce Child Labor and Improve the Quality of Work that Children Perform

Ximena Del Carpio's picture

Does an increase in household wealth decrease child labor in poorer households? Available literature in economics suggests that when poorer households need to make their ends meet, they tend not to dispense on child labor. And as households’ income increases, child labor declines in favor of schooling. However, if schools are few and far, and their infrastructure and teachers’ performance are deficient, there is less incentives for parents to send their children to school. Child labor would then appear as a sensible option, not only for increasing family’s current income but also for training children in skilled work. Thus, an appropriate question is: To what extent and under what conditions an increase in household wealth can either decrease or increase child labor in poor households?

Notes from the field: Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug

Markus Goldstein's picture

So this past week I was in Ghana following up on some of the projects I am working on there with one of my colleagues.   We were designing an agricultural impact evaluation with some of our counterparts, following up on the analysis of the second round of a land tenure impact evaluation and a financial literacy intervention, and exploring the possibility of some work in the rural financial sector.   In no particular order, here are some of the things I learned and some things I am still wondering about: