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David Evans

David Evans

Development economist tweeting about education, health, social protection, impact evaluation, & African lit. Tukopamoja = We Are Together in Kiswahili

Articles by David Evans

A Simpler Way to Communicate Learning Gains

February 25, 2019

“In 2016, 61 million children of primary school age…were not in school, along with 202 million children of secondary school age.” That’s a tragic number, and it’s also a concrete image. While we may have trouble envisioning 61 million children, we have a clear picture in our heads as to what a child not in …

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The Latest Evidence on Gender and Development

February 13, 2019

A new collection of papers – Towards Gender Equity in Development – sets out to “explore key sources of female empowerment and discuss the current challenges and opportunities for the future” in three categories: marriage, outside options, and laws and cultural norms. The final published book is available for free, and the individual chapters are …

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Education spending and student learning outcomes

January 17, 2019

How much does financing matter for education? The Education Commission argued that to achieve access and quality education “will require total spending on education to rise steadily from $1.2 trillion per year today to $3 trillion by 2030 (in constant prices) across all low- and middle-income countries.” At the same time, the World Bank’s World …

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Top Ten Development Impact Blog Posts of 2018

January 3, 2019

Before we begin new posts next week, here are the 10 Development Impact posts published in 2018 that were most popular (by number of page views).   10. The latest research in economics on Africa: The CSAE round-up 9. What’s new in education research? Impact evaluations and measurement – January 2018 round-up 8. What do …

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Can technology enable effective teacher coaching at scale?

October 10, 2018

Teachers are important. And many teachers in low- and middle-income countries would benefit from support to improve their pedagogical skills. But how to do it? Again and again, evidence suggests that short teacher trainings – usually held in a central location – don’t do much of anything to improve teacher practice. Likewise, much teacher training …

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Is your education program benefiting the most vulnerable students?

September 24, 2018

Just about every article or report on education that we read these days – and some that we’ve written – bemoan the quality of education in low- and middle-income countries. The World Bank’s World Development Report 2018 devoted an entire, well-documented chapter to “the many faces of the learning crisis.” Recent reports on education in …

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Development Impact is taking a break for August!

August 2, 2018

Dear readers: We are taking a break for August, but we’ll back in September with more posts on new methods, new evidence, and new data in the world of impact evaluations. See you soon! Best, The Development Impact Team PS We may post an occasional set of links if we get antsy. 

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Want to keep girls in school? Teach them to negotiate.

June 4, 2018

Across low-income countries, fewer than one in every three girls are enrolled in secondary school. Many interventions to improve girls’ access to school provide cash, such as cash transfers in Malawi or Nepal. But what if girls had better skills to advocate for their own interests? In a recent experiment in Zambia, Nava Ashraf, Natalie …

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Human Capital Round-up – May 2018 Edition

May 23, 2018

Here are 30+ studies on the economics of education and health that I’ve encountered and found interesting recently. Add your own in the comments!EducationTeachers and Teaching How much scripting is too much scripting? Piper et al. review the evidence and find that “structured teachers’ guides improve learning outcomes, but that overly scripted teachers’ guides are …

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Growing or fading? The long-run impacts of educational interventions

May 9, 2018

This post is co-authored with Mũthoni Ngatia. Many education investments focus on the first years of primary education or – even before that – early child education. The logic behind this is intuitive: Without a solid foundation, it’s hard for children and youth to gain later skills that use those foundations. If you can’t decipher …

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Pitfalls of Patient Satisfaction Surveys and How to Avoid Them

April 25, 2018

A child has a fever. Her father rushes to his community’s clinic, his daughter in his arms. He waits. A nurse asks him questions and examines his child. She gives him advice and perhaps a prescription to get filled at a pharmacy. He leaves. How do we measure the quality of care that this father …

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How long is the long run?

April 11, 2018

When John Maynard Keynes wrote that “In the long run we are all dead,” he probably didn’t mean a few days or months, notwithstanding a recent “long-term experimental” social psychology study that shows results over a whopping three days. Keynes lived an additional 23 years after publishing his famous statement, so I’ll call 23 years …

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Weekly Links March 30: Academia vs policy, conflict on risk, child nutrition, and how to get the most out of an impact evaluation

March 30, 2018

Sylvain Chabé-Ferret from the Toulouse School of Economics takes stock in The Empirical Revolution in Economics: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead. He proposes 8 knowledge achievements of the empirical revolution in economics, 4 methodological advances, 3 major challenges, and 3 proposed solutions.  Sue Dynarski from University of Michigan has a talk on “how to communicate …

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How to Publish Statistically Insignificant Results in Economics

March 28, 2018

Sometimes, finding nothing at all can unlock the secrets of the universe. Consider this story from astronomy, recounted by Lily Zhao: “In 1823, Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers gazed up and wondered not about the stars, but about the darkness between them, asking why the sky is dark at night. If we assume a universe that is …

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How to attract and motivate passionate public service providers

February 28, 2018

In Gaile Parkin’s novel Baking Cakes in Kigali, two women living in Kigali, Rwanda – Angel and Sophie – argue over the salary paid to a development worker: “Perhaps these big organisations needed to pay big salaries if they wanted to attract the right kind of people; but Sophie had said that they were the …

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Cash Transfers Increase Trust in Local Government

February 14, 2018

This post was co-authored with Katrina Kosec of IFPRI. Cash transfers seem to be everywhere. A recent statistic suggests that 130 low- and middle-income countries have an unconditional cash transfer program, and 63 have a conditional cash transfer program. We know that cash transfers do good things: the children of beneficiaries have better access to …

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Top Ten Development Impact Blog Posts of 2017

January 5, 2018

Before we begin new posts next week, here are the 2017 Development Impact posts that were most popular over the last year. In this case, popular = most page views. 10 journals for publishing a short economics paper When should you cluster standard errors? New wisdom from the econometrics oracle What’s the latest in development …

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Where is the development economics research happening? The geographical distribution of NEUDC research

November 9, 2017

Yesterday I posted a round-up of the research presented at NEUDC, a major conference on development economics. Although most economic research aspires to uncover principles relevant across multiple contexts, empirical research happens at a place and time. I mapped out the distribution of research presented at NEUDC, fully recognizing that this makes no claim to …

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Blog your job market paper 2017: Submissions open!

October 27, 2017

We are pleased to launch for the seventh year a call for PhD students on the job market to blog their job market paper on the Development Impact blog.  We welcome blog posts on anything related to empirical development work, impact evaluation, or measurement. For examples, you can see posts from past years (2016, 2015, 2014,  2013, and 2012). We will …

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How to leverage the time children spend out of school for learning

September 27, 2017

Every year, a child lives 8,760 hours (that’s 24 hours times 365 days). Let’s say she sleeps 9 hours a night. That leaves 5,475 hours awake. How many of those does she spend in school? Official compulsory instructional time for primary school ranges from under 600 hours (Russia) to nearly 1,200 hours (Costa Rica) in …

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