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From EVIDENCE to POLICY

from EVIDENCE to POLICY

Evidence to Policy, a monthly note series on learning what works, highlights studies that evaluate the impact of programs in the critical areas of human development --health, education, social protection, water and sanitation and labor. From how to best supply rural health clinics with drugs to what helps students do better in school, World Bank-supported impact evaluations provide governments and development experts with the information they need to use resources most effectively. As impact evaluations increasingly become more important to policymakers, this series offers a non-technical review of the many innovations the Human Development Network is supporting, and the growing number of rigorous studies analyzing the impacts of those innovations. The note series is managed by SIEF, which receives generous funding from the British government's Department for International Development.


TURKEY: Do job training programs help people find jobs?

2014

In Turkey, researchers from the World Bank worked with the government to evaluate the impact of the Turkish National Employment Agency's (ISKUR) vocational training program to reduce unemployment. Based on the results, the government increased courses by private providers and took steps to ensure the quality of the offerings.

Philippines: Are Cash Transfer Programs Effective?

2014

The Philippines is successfully using conditional cash transfers to improve health and education for the poorest families, but the program hasn't been effective at raising school enrollment for older children. Based on the evaluation, the government has increased the transfer amount for older children.

Liberia: Can Employment Opportunities Help Build Peace?

2014

What's the most effective way to reintegrate ex-combatants and reduce illegal activities? This policy note reviews an innovative program that had a big impact.

JAMAICA: Helping Children Develop into Healthy, Productive Adults

2014

This policy note reviews the evaluation of a program in Jamaica that targeted mothers of babies stunted due to malnutrition, offering a rare look at the effects of early childhood intervention over the decades.

Tanzania: Can Local Communities Successfully Run Cash Transfer Programs?

2014

In Tanzania, an innovative conditional cash transfer program that relies on local communities to administer the payments has succeeded in helping the country’s poorest citizens. As the results of a recent impact evaluation indicate, cash transfer systems can be adapted to work well in low-income countries that don’t have a strong central government to administer them.

Power Point Summary

Can Demand for Toilets be Encouraged? Evidence from Indonesia

2014

In Indonesia, the World Bank worked with the government to develop new approaches to discourage open defecation and increase the number of toilets in poor, rural areas. An impact evaluation of a program to foster demand for toilets by raising awareness—instead of building sanitation facilities and hoping people would use them—showed a boost in toilet construction and a drop in diarrheal illness.

Cambodia: Challenges in Scaling Up Preschools

2013

In Cambodia, a scale-up of early childhood development programs ran into problems, which affected the evaluation and raised important lessons for policymakers and groups working on bringing such programs to scale.

PAKISTAN: Using Low-Cost Private Schools to Fill the Education Gap

2013

The World Bank works with governments to develop and implement innovative methods for expanding access to education, particularly for girls, and improve school quality.

PERU AND VIETNAM: What Gets People to Wash Their Hands

2013

Impact evaluations from Peru and Vietnam give us more information about the difficulties of changing handwashing behavior on a large scale.

Colombia: Do cash transfers have a long-term impact on education?

2013

In Colombia, researchers used administrative data to analyze the long-term impact of conditional cash transfers on schooling.

UGANDA: If you give the POor cash, does it help?

2013

In Uganda, researchers evaluated a government program that gave unsupervised cash grants to youth for small business development and training. Based on final results four years after the intervention, the cash transfers achieved nearly all the goals. Beneficiaries invested most of the cash in building business opportunities. While they still did agricultural work, they spent more time working in skilled industry and services and their incomes rose. (View 2011 policy note on the study)

ZAMBIA: Ensuring Essential Drugs in Rural Health Clinics

2013

This bulletin showcases a World Bank supported project in Zambia, where researchers tested two new models for helping rural health facilities stay better supplied with essential medicines. One of the models worked so well that Zambian officials and donors are now considering how to extend it throughout the country. [View original Note - 2010]

TUNISIA: Can Entrepreneurship Training Improve Work Opportunities for College Graduates?

2013

Entrepreneurship training in TunisiaIn Tunisia, the World Bank worked with the government to evaluate a program designed to give university students entrepreneurship training and assistance developing a business plan. The evaluation found that the program increased self-employment and helped students develop some skills associated with successful entrepreneurship.

CAMBODIA: Do Scholarships Help Students Continue Their Education?

2013

This bulletin showcases a World Bank supported study in Cambodia, where researchers set out to study the effects of scholarships on encouraging primary school students to continue their studies in lower secondary school – and whether bigger grants worked better than smaller ones. The results of the study underscore the importance impact evaluation can have for policymakers, even as researchers plan a second round of data collection to answer some important questions raised by the results. [View original Note - 2010]

INDONESIA: Using Community Grants to Improve Health and Education

2013

In Indonesia, the World Bank worked with the Government of Indonesia on a community grant program to boost the use of health and education services. The impact evaluation built into the program found that cash transfers to rural communities led to positive impacts on average across health and education indicators, with a strong decline in malnutrition.

LATVIA: Do Public Works Programs Help in Times of Economic Crisis?

2013

To help policymakers assess the effectiveness of Latvia's public works program, the World Bank supported an evaluation of the government-sponsored public works initiative, which was launched in response to the global financial crisis of 2008–2010.The evaluation found that the program successfully reached its intended target, helping Latvia's worst-off cope with the crisis by increasing their short-term incomes. For policymakers and development experts, this evaluation underscores the usefulness of public works programs as emergency social safety net instruments even in upper–middle income countries.

RWANDA: Can Bonus Payments Improve the Quality of Health Care?

2013

To help build a body of evidence on how to encourage and support quality healthcare, the World Bank supported a study of government-run and faith-based health clinics in Rwanda. The 23-month evaluation, the first rigorous one of its kind in a low-income country, found that performance-based bonuses helped raise the quality and use of health services for women and children.

JORDAN: Using Vouchers to Boost Female Employment

2012

In order to build evidence of what works, the World Bank funded the Jordan NOW pilot program, which was designed to encourage employment of female college graduates in Jordan through wage subsidy vouchers and soft skills training. Built into the project was an evaluation to measure the impact. Researchers found that vouchers did boost employment—but only for as long as the vouchers were valid. After that, the new hires were let go or left their jobs. The training didn’t show any significant effect on employment.

PAKISTAN: Using Subsidies to Push Private Schools to do Better

2012

To understand whether low-cost private schools can improve access to education and promote student learning, the World Bank evaluated a new public-private education partnership in Pakistan at the request of the government. Private schools receive a per-student monthly subsidy in exchange for waiving tuition and meeting testing standards. By linking the subsidy to student learning, the program aims to push schools to perform better. The evaluation found that the threat of losing the subsidy worked.

ETHIOPIA: Fighting Hunger in Ethiopia

2012

To understand the role that social protection programs can play in helping people feed themselves and their families, the World Bank supported an evaluation of an ongoing program in Ethiopia. This program includes a public works component for the poor. A complementary initiative works to build household agricultural assets so families can better provide for themselves. The evaluation found that these measures boost food security, helping households better manage year-round.

NICARAGUA: Can Small Farmers Be Protected From Bad Weather?

2012

To learn whether cash grants and training can help poor, rural farmers develop alternative income sources so they better manage during weather “shocks” that harm or destroy crops, the World Bank evaluated a Nicaraguan government program that sought to assist families after a bad drought. Two years after the program ended, researchers found that families that received vocational training or small business grants were better protected against droughts than those who qualified only for conditional cash transfers.

BURKINA FASO: Can Cash Transfers help Children Stay Healthy?

2012

To help policymakers better understand the effects of conditional cash transfers on encouraging parents to take children for regular check-ups, the World Bank supported a study of a pilot cash transfer program in Burkina Faso. The evaluation found that conditional cash transfers boosted routine preventive health care visits, regardless of whether the money was given to the mother or father. On the other hand, unconditional cash transfers, regardless of which parent received the money, did not lead to more regular health visits.

MOZAMBIQUE: Do Preschools Help Children?

2012

To test the effectiveness of preschool programs on children’s enrollment in and readiness for primary school, the World Bank supported a study of an early childhood development preschool program in Mozambique run by Save the Children. The evaluation showed that children enrolled in preschool were better prepared for the demands of schooling than children who did not attend preschool and that they were more likely to start primary school by age 6.

INDONESIA: How Can We Make Schools Work Better?

2012

Researchers measured the relative effectiveness of a pilot program implemented by the Indonesian government to test measures to strengthen school committees and improve accountability, thereby leading to better student learning. The pilot found that the most effective way to improve student test scores was to support democratic elections for committee members and strengthen ties between the committees and local groups.

BURKINA FASO, LAOS and UGANDA: Do school feeding programs help children?

2012

Researchers supported by the World Bank evaluated three Save the Children school feeding programs in Burkina Faso, Laos and Uganda. The results point to the possibilities and limitations of school feeding programs: when properly implemented, they can raise enrollment and possibly lead to better learning. But even then, feeding programs are unlikely to make up for the cognitive and physical lags that result from poor nutrition during pregnancy and the first two years of life.

KENYA: Do Vouchers for Job Training Programs Help?

2011

Researchers evaluated a Kenyan program to use vouchers to encourage young adults to enroll in vocational training programs. The research showed that this was effective at promoting enrollment -- and that those who received vouchers that could be used for a private institution were more likely to sign up and stay in school.

CHILE: Can Targeted Assistance Help the Very Poor?

2011

This policy note reviews a World Bank-supported evaluation of Chile's Solidario social assistance program, which aims to reach families living in extreme poverty. The research shows that twinning regular social worker visits with changes to the programs themselves to increase access and better meet demand did lead to increased take-up of subsidies.

INDONESIA: Do Supplementary Nutritional Feeding Programs Work?

2011

A World Bank-supported a study of a program in Indonesia that gave young children special high-nutrition snacks found that the program reduced stunting in children aged 12 months to 24 months. This study provides useful lessons into how governments and policy experts can work to support proper mother and child nutrition during times of economic crisis.

COLOMBIA: Can Computers Help Students Learn?

2011

A World Bank-supported study reviewed the impact of a public-private partnership in Colombia that places computers in public schools. The study found that students in participating schools did not show improved test scores, raising questions about the effectiveness of the program, which included teacher training in how to use the computers as teaching aids. Bad news is sometimes good news, blogged HDN Chief Economist Ariel Fiszbein, because it reminds us that “achieving results is not as simple as we sometimes seem to believe.”

INDIA: Teacher Pay in Andhra Pradesh

2010

This bulletin takes a look at a World Bank supported study in Andhra Pradesh, India, where our team and their counterparts set out to explore whether paying teachers bonuses based on student test scores is more effective at boosting scores than giving schools extra money for supplies or teachers. The results of the project will not end the debate over how to encourage more effective teaching. But it does offer some powerful ideas that can help inform policy in this critical area across the developing world.




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