Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs

 

RCTs in Development, Lessons from the Hype Cycle

Last month, I was on my way to speak at an IDB sponsored conference on evaluation.  Getting on the shuttle to DC I bumped into a friend of mine who is the head of a technology related company.   On the plane I was telling him I was on my way to talk about the fad of doing RCTs in my field of development.  He told me he had a great slide from the tech consulting company Gartner about the “Hype Cycle” in tech industries.  As you see, this wonderful graphic shows a typical cycle of a tech idea or tech

Privacy and the Biometric Revolution

What exactly is privacy? As Bob Gellman points out in his new CGD paper, the concept changes from place to place. Scandinavian countries have strict privacy laws, but tax returns are public; the United States has no broad privacy laws, but tax returns are shield from public scrutiny. In some European countries, nude sunbathing is common; in some Muslim countries, women typically appear in public wearing garments that cover the body from head to feet.  That’s all to say that privacy—and efforts to protect it—depend on context.

Plugging in to Global Health: The Proliferation of Mobile Apps

This is a joint post with Kate McQueston.

Mobile applications – or ‘apps’ – seem to be the latest craze in mobile technology for global health programming.  The proliferation of these apps is converging around a growing interests in open (and big) data, so you don’t have to look far to find creative ways they are being used to collect and display data in the development sector.

The Biometrics Revolution -- Alan Gelb and Julia Clark

Imagine that a government employee holding an unfamiliar device and a laptop offers to scan your iris and create for you a unique identification record. Would you agree? For hundreds of millions of people in the developing world, the answer is unequivocally “yes!” My guests on this Wonkcast are among the world’s leading experts on the burgeoning field of biometric identification and its role in development.

The Eyes Have It! Development and the Biometrics Revolution

The “identity gap” is large, but it’s closing. Over the past 10 years, developing countries from Afghanistan to Zambia—and the donors that support them—have begun to focus on identity systems. Some have sought to create or extend national identification to cover large populations that previously could not exercise basic rights or access services due to a lack of official documentation. Others have reformed government and NGO programs by creating robust identification to improve quality, increase accessibility and eliminate fraud.