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The MCC's approach to impact Evaluation

Markus Goldstein's picture

In our continuing series on discussing institutional approaches to impact evaluation, DI virtually sat down with Jack Molyneaux, Director of Independent Evaluations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  (Please note that these are Jack’s opinions, not that of the MCC)
 
DI:  Impact Evaluation seems to be something that's pretty important at the MCC. Can you tell us a bit about how this focus came about? 
JM: Since its inception MCC’s mandate has included demonstrating results.  Rigorous impact evaluations have always been a key component of that mandate. 

Insights from 15 years of Fieldwork in Thailand

David McKenzie's picture

A new book Chronicles from the Field: The Townsend Thai Project provides a behind-the-scenes look at putting together one of the most impressive data collection projects in development  - Rob Townsend’s Thai data, which has conducted monthly surveys on a panel of Thai households for over 150 consecutive months, as well as annual surveys. The Townsend Thai data is available online and has spurred a number of research papers by Rob and his co-authors. This book looks at what it takes to produce all this data.

Why similarity is the wrong concept for External Validity

David McKenzie's picture

I’ve been reading Evidence-based policy: a practical guide to doing it better by Nancy Cartwright and Jeremy Hardle. The book is about how one should go about using existing evidence to move from “it works there” to “it will work here”. I was struck by their critique of external validity as it is typically discussed.

What's the right way to pick the respondent for a household survey?

Gabriel Demombynes's picture

I have just come back from the pilot for a survey on perceptions of inequality in Lao Cai, near the northern border of Vietnam. Many tourists visit via the overnight train from Hanoi to trek through the green hills filled with terraced rice paddies and see something of the culture of the region’s ethnic minority groups. Despite all the tourist money, the region remains one of Vietnam’s poorest.

Weekly links July 12: daycare, remittances for education, opaque measurement, funding, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • How should we measure what is a high-income country? Martin Ravallion explains and critiques the World Bank definition on the CGD blog.
  • Aid Thoughts discusses new work on the value of daycare in Brazilian slums.
  • A new From Evidence to Policy note looks at the long-term impact of a conditional cash transfer on education in Colombia-part of the analysis uses admin data on test scores for graduating students – “students whose families received cash grants were between 4 and 8.4 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school; but Students whose families received the cash grants didn’t score higher on the national standardized achievement test given a year before graduation”.
  • Classic papers in behavioral finance summed up in a few sentences – Noah Smith gives his take on essential papers in behavioral finance.
  • On the IDB Development Effectiveness blog, Dean Yang and co-authors summarize their new study on the use of matching funds to channel remittances towards education in El Salvador.
  • Funding opportunity: The World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) has a new call for proposals for work on basic education, water and sanitation, early childhood development, and health systems. Details here.
  • Funding opportunity: 3ie has funding available under an agricultural innovation thematic window. This grant window will fund up to 16 new impact evaluations of interventions in the areas of knowledge transfer, contractual arrangements, adoption, and soil health
  • Funding opportunity: (Not just for impact evaluations) IZA and DFID are now accepting applications for funding in Phase III of the Growth and Labor Markets in Low Income Countries (GLM | LIC) program.  This will fund work on 1. Growth and labor market outcomes, 2. Active labor market policies, 3. Labor market institutions, 4. Migration and labor markets, 5. Gender and 6. Data for labor market analysis. Application materials here.

Thinking about how to target anti-poverty programs: ordeals or proxy means tests?

Markus Goldstein's picture

When we want to target a poor population for an anti-poverty program, we first need to figure out who is actually poor.    This isn’t straightforward – there are a range of potential targeting criteria and options.    In countries where poverty is less dense and data is decent, two of the more common options are self-targeting and proxy means tests.    A nice recent paper by Vivi Alatas, Abjijit Banerjee, Rema Hanna, Benjamin Olken, Ririn Purnamasari, and Matthew Wai-Poi sheds some light on th

Behind low rates of participation in micro-insurance: a misunderstanding of the insurance concept?

Jed Friedman's picture

Micro-insurance pilot programs begin with grand hopes that the target population will enroll and obtain program benefits, but many are disappointed that after much planning and effort so few actually take up the program. Apparently take-up rates greater than 30% are rare and often do not exceed 15%. Furthermore, only a fraction of beneficiaries choose to renew their participation after the initial enrollment period.

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