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In defense of single project evaluations: A response to Ravallion

David McKenzie's picture

Yesterday Martin Ravallion argued that the fact that much of the impact evaluation taking place involves assessing the impact of specific projects one at a time is not that helpful in assessing development impact because it doesn’t tell us about the impact of overall portfolios if there are interactions between policies or if the subset of projects which get evaluated in an overall portfolio are not a representative sample.

Guest Post by Martin Ravallion: Are we really assessing development impact?

When people ask about “development impact” they are often referring to the impact of some set of development policies and projects; let’s call it a “development portfolio.” The portfolio of interest may be various things that are (ostensibly) financed by the domestic resources of developing countries. Or it might be a set of externally-financed projects spanning multiple countries—a portfolio held by a donor country or international organization, such as the World Bank.

Power Calculations 101: Dealing with Incomplete Take-up

David McKenzie's picture

A key issue in any impact evaluation is take-up (i.e. the proportion of people offered a program who use it). This is particularly an issue in many finance and private sector (FPD) programs. In many health and education programs such as vaccination campaigns or getting children to school programs, the goal of the program is actually to have all eligible individuals participate. In contrast, universal take-up is not the goal of most FPD programs, and, even when it is a goal, it is seldom the reality.

Is it OK to flash money to snip the goods?

Berk Ozler's picture

I was circumcised in the hospital as a very young infant. Most children do get circumcised in Turkey, although I suspect that many are not as lucky as I was, including my younger brother, who went through the ordeal when he was around six years-old. I remember him in some pain and discomfort for what seemed like a long period of time to me at the time, even though it was probably no longer than a few weeks if not days…

What happens when the power goes out? Using blackouts to help understand the determinants of infant health

Jed Friedman's picture

Low birth weight, usually defined as less than 2500 grams at birth, is an important determinant of infant mortality. It is also significantly associated with adverse outcomes well into adulthood such as reduced school attainment and lower earnings. Maternal nutrition is a key determinant of low birth weight and it’s no surprise that nutrition interventions targeted at pregnant mothers can have significant impacts.