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In central Africa, the World Food Program is shifting from aid in kind to cash and vouchers in the refugee camps that it runs. The hope is to create benefits for the surrounding host-country economies as well as for the refugees, themselves.
In West Gonja, Ghana, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization is investing in cassava processing and marketing, in the hope of stimulating incomes, employment, and welfare in one of the country’s poorest regions.
In a small-scale fishery in the Philippines, the government hopes to introduce new regulations to ensure the fishery’s long-term sustainability. The long-term gains are clear, but in the short run, nobody knows what limiting access will mean for an economy in which most fisher households are poor, and income from fishing is vital to these as well as other poor households with whom they interact.
These are classic situations in which local economy-wide impact evaluation (LEWIE) methods can be incredibly useful. These methods model the way local economies function, and can be used to simulate how these economies might behave under shifting conditions. In cases such as those mentioned above, impacts depend critically on how local economies adjust. For example, if local supply responses around refugee camps or in the cassava-producing communities of West Gonja are low, policies that simulate demand could raise prices and harm people they intend to benefit, with collateral damage on other linked sectors and household groups.
For those designing or evaluating a policy or program, LEWIE methods can highlight impacts not only on those directly affected by the intervention, but also the spillover impacts around them. Policy makers and donors want to know what sorts of complementary interventions might be needed in order to make sure that their programs are successful. Often, answers are needed before programs and policies are put into place. LEWIE methods were designed to provide such answers. The stakes are high, and as always, time and resources are limited.
We find that LEWIE often has impacts far beyond what we anticipate when we begin an evaluation. Often, it reveals benefits missed by other approaches. Documenting likely impacts beyond those affected directly by an intervention ex-ante can tip the cost-benefit scale in favor of funding the intervention. More and more, governments and donors want to know that a development project not only benefits targeted households and sectors but also creates positive economic spillovers—and they want to know what can be done to enhance those spillovers. Documenting impacts beyond the treated can be critical in order to garner political and institutional support for projects and policies.
Here’s a recent example: Our LEWIE of LEAP, Ghana’s flagship social cash-transfer program, found that each cedi transferred to a poor household increases local income by as many as 2.5 cedi. (A summary of this evaluation can be found at the UN-FAO’s From Protection to Production website.
Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, opening the Pan-African Conference on Inequalities last April, stated: “LEAP has had a positive impact on local economic growth. Beneficiaries spend about 80 percent of their income on the local economy. Every GH1 transferred to a beneficiary has the potential of increasing the local economy by GH2.50.” His goal was clear: to demonstrate that social protection and economic growth can be complements. It appears that LEAP accomplishes both. Read the President’s speech.
Understanding LEWIE is basic to designing rigorous and innovative RCTs. Development projects are likely to create spillovers within treated localities as well as with neighboring ones. LEWIE gives us a way of thinking about these spillovers so that RCTs capture them and avoid control-group contamination and other problems that often raise questions about the validity of experimental results.
Most practitioners and policy makers do not construct LEWIE models or carry out RCTs, but they often find themselves involved in designing interventions and coming up with strategies to evaluate their impacts. Insights from LEWIE studies, which have been carried out for a wide variety of interventions in diverse contexts, can inform their work, at a time when more and more donors include “local economy impacts” in their list of evaluation criteria. LEWIE changes the way we think about impacts, direct or indirect, on people who are so vulnerable that we cannot risk being wrong.
Headline image credit: Highway Fruit Stall, by flöschen. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr
Today, 29 February 2012, is a ‘leap day’. To understand more about the leap phenomenon, and the significance of 29 February in history, we turn to The Oxford Companion to the Year: an exploration of calendar customs and time-reckoning.
Leap Day. In the modern form of the calendar, which dispenses with the Roman names of days, this is leap day, inserted every four years to make up the difference between the common year of 365 days and the solar year; by happy accident the sequence of leap years inherited from the Romans coincides with years AD divisible by 4. Since the true difference is some eleven minutes less than six hours, Pope Gregory XIII ordered in 1582 that leap day should be omitted when the year was divisible by 100 but not by 400; the years affected, in those countries that accepted the reform (which Great Britain did not till 1752), were 1700, 1800, and 1900. There was a 29 February again in 2000, but will not be in 2100.
Persons born on 29 February are humorously said to have a birthday only once in four years; on that basis Rossini, who was born on 29 February 1792, would have waited till 1804 for his second birthday, since 1800 was a common year. In practice, however, they have birthdays in common years on the 28th. By the legal rule noted under the 22nd, anyone born on either 29 February or 1 March 1948 in England (though not Scotland) came of age on 28 February 1969; but since the Act that abolished that rule also reduced the age of majority, persons born on 29 February 1952 came of age on 28 February 1970, but those born the next day not till 1 March.
Western saints such as Oswald of Worcester who died on 29 February used to be culted on that day in leap year and 28 February in common years; this was a last relic of the Roman reckoning, which made the last day of February pridi Kalendas Martias in either case. By contrast, the Orthodox church, which uses the forward count, celebrates John Cassian on 29 February in leap year and not at all in common years, reputedly as punishment for being last to arrive when the saints came to ask Christ for work. In Mytilene this is the shirkers’ feast, and Cassian holds the keys of idleness.
An old Scotswoman in the nineteenth century, asked by a small boy why this day occurred only once in four years, consulted the ‘funtin-heid’, her Bible, which fell open at Job 3: 3, ‘Let the day perish wherein I was born’, and deduced that Job had been born on 29 February; the Lord had not altogether abolished that day, but done what he could for his servant by suppressing it three years out of four. That was mere fancy, but we read in a near-contemporary that in the second century AD the Athenians gratified the multimillionaire Herodes Atticus – or rather yielded to his unrestrained emotionalism and much-resented power – by removing from the calendar the day on which his daughter died.
A day added to the year,
laconic or luminous.
The extra day can be seen
and touched, like any other.
Its hours are not difficult to count,
the weather varies but is weather,
no alien manifestation.
Lovers who marry on this day
have the usual eggshell hearts,
the lewdness of fish.
Children born on this day
are as fierce as any others.
Those who die on this day
must find new ways of being,
and on this day
singing still builds
the upstairs room of the sky.
This is the day
the year keeps for herself
but offers to you,
her breath fo
This Day in World History - In Roman times, Julius Caesar instituted a calendar reform based on a solar year of 365 and one-quarter days. To accommodate the quarter day, the Julian calendar added an extra day to every fourth year, creating leap years. Unfortunately, a solar year is really a few minutes shorter than 365 days and 6 hours. The Julian calendar’s overestimate meant that over the course of a century, more or less, the beginning of each of the four seasons moved back a day. By the late 1500s, the spring equinox fell on March 11, rather than around March 21.
I just finished this illustration to go with a poem a friend wrote to submit to Highlights magazine. How could I not post it this week? I'm actually going to get to the studio at some point today or tomorrow to paint something else for this word. Still, I wanted to share this one...especially for my good pal Ms. Froggie!
My submission for Illustration Friday's "Leap" is from one of my Marisol Greeting Cards and it stems from my having worked in an office when I was younger. It takes a leap to live as an artist and believe in yourself.
I did this for Illustration Friday this week... Also, this is the logo for this month's April Fool contest. The Anti-Valentines day contest was well received, but there were alot more crafty entries than illustrations, so I'm hoping my artist friends will be more in evidence with this one!
Sketched in pencil (long work meeting!), scanned, colored in photoshop.
Today we bring you our weekly sampler of the cool youth media and marketing gigs. If your company has an open position in the youth media or marketing space, we encourage you to join the Ypulse LinkedIn group, if you haven't yet, and post ... Read the rest of this post