Improving Health in Developing Countries: Lessons from RCTs with Michael Kremer (CGDev lecture video)


Over the last 15 years, development economists have carefully accumulated rigorous evidence about what works and what does not in promoting health in poor countries. While each individual evaluation tests specific questions or sets of questions in specific contexts, the large number of studies now means that it is possible to draw more general conclusions. In addition, randomized evaluations are increasingly being designed to test fundamental questions about how people behave and thus generate lessons that are relevant for the design of different types of programs. In this seminar, Michael Kremer will discuss a new research paper co-authored with Rachel Glennerster, Lessons from Randomized Evaluations for Improving Health in Developing Countries, which summarizes lessons from the growing body of randomized evaluations of health programs in developing countries. The paper finds considerable evidence that consumers do not always invest optimally in health. In particular, consumers underinvest in cost-effective products for prevention and non-acute care of communicable disease and are very sensitive to the price and convenience of these products. This underinvestment does not simply reflect a lack of information of the benefits of preventative health. While this suggests the need for government intervention, many government health systems perform poorly and there is little accountability and few incentives for health care providers. Of the approaches designed to improve accountability, community or nongovernmental monitoring has had mixed results but district-level contracting has been quite successful. Many programs can improve health without excessive reliance on dysfunctional health delivery systems—delivering health products through schools for example, or improving health through water treatment.

Partnership for Growth: A New Model for USG Engagement on Development? (CGDev Video)


Partnership for Growth (PFG) is a new model for the United States to engage with a select group of countries to accelerate and sustain broad-based economic growth. It involves rigorous joint analysis of constraints to growth, the development of joint action plans to address these constraints, and high-level mutual accountability for implementation. One of PFG’s objectives is to engage not just aid but also a range of available tools to unlock new investment. CGD was pleased to host Gayle Smith who presented on PFG. Todd Moss moderated a conversation with representatives from the U.S. agencies involved in the partnership as well as representatives from the first set of PFG countries, El Salvador, Ghana, Philippines, and Tanzania.

Linking Investments to Outcomes: Measuring Health System Effectiveness (CGDev Video)


In recent years the idea of strong health systems as a component of population health has been noted by both global health donors and national governments alike. Consequently, the question of how to measure the effectiveness of health systems interventions has become ever more pressing. But it remains unclear if efforts to assess health systems are providing enough information to establish a link between investments and improved health outcomes. How do we know if increased investments in the sector are creating the desired impact? This panel discussion will explore the linkage between health system strengthening activities and improving health outcomes and provide a platform for determining the efficacy of health systems investments. Panelists will address methodologies for analyzing health systems, beyond a mere compilation of indicators, and will explore innovative methods to measure health system performance.

CGDev Video: Global Risks for Low-Income Countries – Views on the IMF Perspective


Most low-income countries (LICs) recovered swiftly from the 2008-9 global crisis and have grown strongly since early 2010. But progress in rebuilding macroeconomic buffers has been slow, and the LICs are now less well prepared to deal with external shocks than they were before the crisis. At a time when the risks to the global outlook are intensifying, a new IMF study finds that many LICs would struggle to cope with a renewed global downturn. In a second report, the IMF and World Bank explore the role contingent financial instruments—such as commodity hedging, contingent debt, and insurance—could play to help LICs manage global volatility. IMF staff will present the key findings of these studies, highlighting the policy implications for LICs and the international community, with comments by expert discussants to follow.