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Naked Contracting Bleg

Impressed by the response to Justin Sandefur’s recent CGD blog entry, I’ve titled this post in an attempt to sex up the topic of government procurement. No need, you say? What’s hotter than one hundred pages of legalese and a bill of quantities detailing asphalt and gravel? The below is for you, and it ends with a request for your help.

Clicks to Policy Bricks: Can Innovation Jumpstart Development Transformation?

I participated last week in a conversation about innovation and technology for development at the Brookings Blum Roundtable in Aspen. Amazing changes are happening out there that exploit new information technologies, improving the lives of the poor and vulnerable. But a big unanswered question for me is clicks to bricks (see #8 below: Are crowdsourcing and open access innovations being matched by innovations in making government accountable and delivering public services?) I am more convinced today that web-based innovations are helping poor people become their own change agents in making t

“Stunning Progress” or “Implausible and Invalid”: The Afghanistan Mortality Survey 2010?

Afghanistan accounted for 15 percent of all U.S. economic assistance allocated in FY2012, amounting to 2 billion dollars. USAID has contributed at least 15 billion in aid to Afghanistan since 2001, with cumulative investments in the health sector at nearly 1 billion. But the impact of these investments has been difficult to judge because of lack of reliable data and accurate measurement, leaving many wondering: What have these funds achieved? In particular, has this economic assistance improved the health of Afghans?

The Challenge of Scaling Up Proven Interventions -- Justin Sandefur

Justin Sandefur

My guest on this week’s Wonkcast is Justin Sandefur, a research fellow at CGD whose recent work has focused on education in Kenya. One study examines the returns of private schooling, while another looks at the effects of contract teachers on student test scores. The results of these studies highlight shortcomings in public education, including failures of accountability and a dense bureaucracy.

Fake Aid

This is a joint post with Justin Sandefur

Winning hearts and minds is a key part of the US Military’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and a major rationale for USAID’s $15 billion investment in the country. This strategy rests on Secretary Clinton’s vision that defense, development and diplomacy are closely linked, mutually reinforcing goals -- a win-win-win foreign policy love triangle.

Some development experts, channeling their inner Dr. Phil, have been skeptical of this model. But much of the industry has been won over by the lure of Pentagon-sized budgets for real aid projects serving real development goals like rural development and girls’ education.