Poverty Action Lab’s seven suggestions to achieve MDGs

Millennium Development Goals or MDGs were at one point of time the most talked about thing in economics. It was allover the place. Now we just have no coverage apart from an article or two once in a while in the mainstream media. Nonethless, achieving or nearing the goals is very important.

Esther Dulo of Poverty Action Lab suggests 7 buys for UN that can help reach MDGs:

Governments need rigorous evidence on program effectiveness to make informed choices on where to invest scarce resources in the fight against poverty. Randomized evaluations use straightforward statistical techniques like those used in medicine to measure program effects. By distinguishing programs that work from those that don’t, and sorting highly effective programs from those that work but come with a higher price tag, randomized evaluations help answer tough questions on comparative cost effectiveness and are central to generating rigorous evidence for development effectiveness.

More than ever before, we have the scientific evidence to guide global policy. Practical and rigorously tested interventions exist that can inform policy to reduce poverty and, if massively scaled up, produce tangible and timely progress on the MDGs.

Her 7 buys:

  • deworming of children
  • to provide remedial education to children who lack basic reading skills
  •  Doing away with small user fees on bednets
  •  Quotas for women in politics
  • provide free primary school uniforms to girls
  • Smart subsidies to farmers to push them towards adopting technology
  • Children Immunization to be backed by little incentives

Her presentation to UN is here. In the ppt, she shows how each of these are linked to the MDGs. It is not necessary that one buy helps in one goal. For instance deworeming helps both overall health and children education.

She also points to research studies which show that above 7 buys have been proven. In nut shell it points to 7 most effective strategies J-PAL has found which can help alleviate poverty.

This I found to be quite a useful way to reach out research findings. PAL’s main work is not to just do research and argue whether random experiments work or not. It is also to inform the public policy think-tanks on what seems to be most likely to work in improving well-being and eradicate poverty.

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