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Governance

How Do You Measure History?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Over and over again, and then again, and then some more, we get asked about evidence for the role of public opinion for development. Where's the impact? How do we know that the public really plays a role? What's the evidence, and is the effect size significant? Go turn on the television. Go open your newspaper. Go to any news website. Do tell me how we're supposed to put that in numbers.

Here's a thought: maybe the role of public opinion in development is just too big to be measured in those economic units that we mostly use in development? How do you squeeze history into a regression model? Let's have a little fun with this question. Let's assume that
y = b0 + b1x1 + b2x2 + b3x3 + b4x4 + b5x5 + b6x6 + b7x7 + b8(x1x4) + b9(x3x4) + e

For the sake of fairness: Justice in development

Vivek Maru's picture

I spent four years co-directing a grassroots legal empowerment organization in Sierra Leone called Timap for Justice (“Timap” means “stand up” in Sierra Leonean Krio). One of our clients was a cigarette seller and sometime sex worker from the east end of Freetown—I’ll call her Kadiautu. A drunk off-duty police officer brutally beat Kadiatu after an argument one night, not far from the station.

Technology First?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The other day we received a paper from our colleagues at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) on "Deepening Participation and Improving Aid Effectiveness through Media and ICTs." I made it until point 3 of the executive summary before I felt a blog post coming on. Read for yourself: "1) Starting as a magic solution from its beginnings, ICTs are now considered as just another normal media channel useful for enhancing the effectiveness of development cooperation programs. 2) It is not the technology that counts; it is the economic and social processes behind the technology that drives the change. 3) Thus, ICTs are instrumental, not a goal in itself, and they should serve to improve the practice of development cooperation."

Show Me Your I.D., Please!

Johanna Martinsson's picture

If someone were to ask you to identify yourself, you would probably reach into your purse, or pocket, and pull out some form of identification.  Without it, one loses some of the basic benefits of living in a society. You cannot open a bank account, purchase a home, or vote, and so on.  Many countries, however, don’t have a functional identification system.  In India, for example, millions of citizens are unable to benefit from social and financial services because they don’t have proper identification.  Also, current welfare databases are plagued with fake names and duplications, entered by corrupt officials. Thus, the country has embarked on a massive identification project that will be one of the largest citizens’ databases of its kind.

Building Evidence on School Accountability

Ariel Fiszbein's picture

How to make schools accountable for results is a hot issue in both rich and poor countries. The debate is often highly charged and ideological -- witness the discussions in Washington DC around the reforms promoted by former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.  It is thus refreshing when new and rigorous evidence is used to bring some light into the debate. 

Building on over six years of hard work by World Bank teams working across several countries and regions, Barbara Bruns, Deon Filmer and Harry Patrinos have produced a major volume entitled Making Schools Work: New Evidence on Accountability Reforms. 

Making Schools Work is part of the new Human Development Perspectives book series that will launch early next week. An initiative of the Human Development Network, the series will present key research in the field of human development. By linking evidence to policy, publications in this series will help developing countries and their partners get more mileage and impact out of their investments in human capital.

What Role Does Civil Society Play in Economic Development?

Sabina Panth's picture

I recently came across a fascinating initiative where civil society organizations have played a lead role in building public-private partnerships in economic development activities.  The USAID-sponsored Education for Income Generation (EIG) program has brought together local, national and international partners in galvanizing disadvantaged youth to partake in income generating activities toward increasing economic activities and peace building process in post-conflict Nepal. 

Africa's Evolving Infosystems

Antonio Lambino's picture

Our fascination with information and communication technologies (ICTs) crosses many borders.  The public, private, and nonprofit sectors are all atwitter about it.  The same goes for young and old, rich and poor, and the many groups in between.  For the more affluent, it’s partly about aesthetic coolness and conspicuous consumption.  For geeks, it’s partly about what the newest gadgets can do that previous versions could not.  From a development perspective, it’s partly about more effective and efficient delivery of public and private goods and services.  And for all, it probably has something to do with enhanced opportunities for connections among people who might not have known of each other’s existence otherwise.  So, indeed, our fascination with ICTs crosses many borders.

It was this insight that I took away from a lunchtime seminar jointly organized by CommGAP, infoDev, and the Africa Governance and Anti-Corruption (GAC)-in-Projects Team at the World Bank.  At the event, Prof. Steven Livingston presented findings from his new study published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies entitled Africa’s Evolving Infosystems: A Pathway to Stability and Development.  Summarizing field research from at least six countries in the region, Livingston reasons that

Got syringes?

Alaka Holla's picture

In Cambodia, similar to many developing countries with considerable service delivery challenges and weak regulatory environments, the first choice for health care is often a private medical provider. But despite the overwhelming popularity of such facilities – in Cambodia, more than 76 percent of health care visits in 2005-2006 were to private providers according to the most recent Demographic and Health Survey --  research and interventions mainly have focused on public sector health services.


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