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Category Archives: Metrics and evaluation

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Subjective Well-Being

Tim Harford in the FT

Also posted in In the news | 2 Comments

Millennium Villages: Moving the goalposts

Here on the blog, we’ve been following the progress of the Millennium Villages Project, a joint effort from the UN and Columbia’s Earth Institute that has introduced a package of development interventions in health, education, agriculture and infrastructure into 14 “clusters” of villages throughout 10 African countries.

In response to a critical paper by Michael Clemens and Gabriel Demombynes, the MVP architects published a statement last week that they said would “clarify” some “basic…

Also posted in Grand plans and aid targets | Tagged , | 6 Comments

World according to Blattman

Honoring Stealing from Chris Blattman’s great blog, I am reproducing some of his recent posts because they have been unusually fun & good and because I’m just too lazy to write my own blog today.

Favorite distorted maps of Africa:

Favorite wordle on which countries are mentioned in Journal of Development Economics shown below.

I’m fascinated by this. One idea that I am investigating in my own research is that…

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Millennium Villages: don’t work, don’t know or don’t care?

UPDATE 10/16 12:25PM:  Tim Harford in FT also covers Clemens and Demombynes paper and gets response from Sachs.

In a new paper, Michael Clemens and Gabriel Demombynes ask:

When is the rigorous impact evaluation of development projects a luxury, and when a necessity?

The authors study the case of the Millennium Villages, a large, high-profile, project originally meant to demonstrate that a package of technology-based interventions in education, health and agriculture could lastingly propel people…

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Top 25 rankings of all time

Today’s topic was spurred by some rather unusual college rankings by the Wall Street Journal, in which Texas Tech has a higher rank than Harvard. This has been among the most popular articles on the Online Journal for 3 straight days now. Of course, also very popular are the US News and World Report College Rankings (which give the rather opposite results in which Harvard does slightly better relative to Texas Tech.)


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Beautiful fractals and ugly inequality

UPDATE 4pm: is there any point to this post? see end of text

UPDATE II: 4:30pm Critic cuts me some slack. see end of text

UPDATE III 11am, 9/10/10: Paul Krugman says he had the idea first (see end of text)

In our ceaseless search for trendy themes, let’s consider today the beauty of fractals. The picture below shows one fascinating kind of fractal called a “Koch snowflake.” Fractals have the same amount of…

Also posted in Maps | Tagged , | 43 Comments

Fun with serious data

See the full size chart and make new ones here.

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Wonderful graph on global population by latitude and longitude

HT (i.e. stolen from) Chris Blattman

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Is Impact Measurement a Dead End?

This post was written by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

We’ve spent the last few years watching the best donors and NGOs get more and more committed to the idea of measurable impacts. At first, the trend seemed unimpeachable. International donors have spent far too much money with far too few results. Focusing more on impact seemed like the way out of that trap.…

Also posted in Organizational behavior | Tagged , | 31 Comments

The World Bank’s “horizontal” approach to health falls horizontal?

The history of foreign aid for global health has seen a cycling back and forth between two alternative approaches. The “vertical” approach focuses on fighting one disease at a time, and in Africa has been very effective in targeting smallpox, Guinea worm, measles, and river blindness, to name a few examples. After large initial successes though, diminishing returns to vertical programs set in. The “horizontal” approach instead invests sector-wide to make health systems work to…

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches | Tagged , | 14 Comments