To get children to attend school in developing countries, our approach has been primarily to assume that the schooling that is available is worth pursuing, meaning that the problem must be with some barrier to go to school despite a great desire to do so: perhaps the family cannot afford the costs of schooling; perhaps the schools are not good or too far; perhaps the children want to be in school but the parents prefer food today to educated daughter tomorrow; maybe people don’t know the value of schooling, etc.
Quite often the popular press carries stories that compare happiness or life satisfaction across nations (for example see last October’s story: Denmark is Happiest Country). Regular readers of this blog will recognize these reports as summaries of research on subjective well-being (SWB) and would be somewhat skeptical of SWB comparisons across populations with very different characteristics and cultures. Why?
In 1993 India adopted gender quotas for local councils. In particular, the position of chief councilor (or Pradhan) was reserved for women in 1/3 of the village councils in any given election – and this 1/3 was selected at random. As one might expect, this has led to a surge in the number of women holding this post. It also provides a ripe environment for impact evaluation work.
Recently I’ve done more than my usual amount of reviewing of grant proposals for impact evaluation work – both for World Bank research funds and for several outside funders. Many of these have been very good, but I’ve noticed a number of common issues which have cropped up in reviewing a number of them – so thought I’d share some pet peeves/tips/suggestions for people preparing these types of proposals.
I recently read a Guardian article on the most common reported regrets from the dying and thought, “oh, that’s a good lead-in for a blog on subjective well-being.” However I see that Nic Marks at the New Economic Foundation beat me to the punch, so I link his insightful post. Nevertheless I’ll extend what he starts and add a development perspective…
One area in which we see very little impact evaluation is the realm of trade related interventions and reforms. In a recent paper Olivier Cadot and coauthors give us a discussion of these types of interventions and how we might evaluate them (they also have an attendant book with some applications).
1. Tell us about some of the changes you have made since taking over the WBER? It seems like you have succeeded in reducing turnaround times for decisions - how have you done that?
· The On think tanks blog examines Martin Ravallion’s work on the demand for research within the World Bank and compares it with its own work on whether research and evaluations are being used effectively by DFID staff.