It is often the case that poor people do not fully access the public services due to them. Information-based interventions have been proposed as a response. The premise is that lack of information is a decisive demand-side factor inhibiting successful participatory action by poor people to get the services to which they are entitled.
There has been a lot of recent debate and discussion about the role of cash grants in aid, and whether aid is more effective when simply given as unrestricted cash compared to approaches such as conditional transfers which try to restrict how recipients use any money received. Traditionally this debate has centered around food aid and education funding, but more recently this discussion has also arisen with respect to funding small businesses.
A common critique of many impact evaluations, including those using both experimental and quasi-experimental methods, is that of external validity – how well do findings from one setting export to another? This is especially the case for studies done on relatively small samples, although as I have ranted before, there appears to be a double standard in this critique when compared to both other disciplines in economics and to other development literature.
On Monday I was at the UN Foundation's launch of a new report, A Roadmap for Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment. Authored by Mayra Buvinic, Rebecca Furst-Nichols and Emily Courey Pryor this report provides a significant step forward in making sense of the rapidly growing evidence base on what works and what does not for gender equality. [Full disclosure: with co-authors I contributed two of the many background papers for this report].
- On the promise and perils of sharing work in progress – nice discussion on the MonkeyCage blog, including references to Berk’s post on the problems of working papers.
Guest Post by Eva Vivalt
- Berk and co-author’s systematic review of the relative effectiveness of conditional and unconditional cash transfers is now out in The Campbell Collaboration Library.
- In Science last week, Sendhil Mullainathan and co-authors have work showing the cognitive costs of poverty. The Atlantic cities has a summary.