Causal Design

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CategoriesBlog Post RCT Research

A MILLION-DINAR QUESTION: Can Cash Transfers Drive Economic Recovery in Conflict-Driven Crises?

Over the past twenty years, the use of cash transfers in development and humanitarian interventions has experienced exponential growth. Both evidence and ethics have contributed to its rise. Extensive research has demonstrated how cash transfers can serve as critical lifelines in both acute humanitarian emergencies and more stable development contexts, whilst also providing recipients with […]

Can Cash Transfers Drive Economic Recovery in Conflict-driven Crises?: Experimental Evidence from Iraq – Cash Consortium for Iraq

Armed conflict and other situations of violence can lead to changes in both the formal and informal economic systems in any given country or region. These changes often create what scholars call a “war economy.” In the short term, the consequences of conflict include human casualties and the physical destruction of assets and infrastructure. In […]

CategoriesAnalysis Blog Post Research

Doing Business on the Navajo Nation: A Comprehensive Look at the Business Environment on the Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation Context The Navajo Nation is sovereign territory with over 250,000 Navajo people occupying 27,000 square miles of the Colorado Plateau—spanning the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Driving through Diné Bikéyah, or Navajoland, you will see stunning southwestern landscapes rich with a cultural history sacred to the Diné people. What you […]

CategoriesBlog Post

Inflection Point: COVID-19, State and Society

COVID-19 is proving calamitous, with over 250,000 deaths globally, including 70,000 deaths within the United States, and 50,000 across the continent of Africa. Its economic impact is in the never-before-seen realm, and uncertainty, even amid talk of ‘opening up,’ is growing, as new hot spots emerge and as everything from schools to professional sports contemplate next-steps.

Among the outcomes up in the air? State-society relations, everywhere, with long-term, potentially generational implications for the trajectory of post-pandemic health, development and prosperity.

CategoriesBlog Post

The Political Economy of COVID-19: 3 steps to guide the response of development actors

There is little about COVID-19 that is clear right now. It has torn through countries, though at varying rates. Death rates have varied, and as time has passed, initial assumptions about who is affected have been shredded, as even young, healthy people have succumbed to the disease. The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone, whether a small business owner or public policy expert.

CategoriesBlog Post

COVID-19’s Global Impact: Exploring Possible Scenarios

As we all grapple with the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 virus on our lives and the lives of those in our families and communities, it can be difficult to zoom out and think about the possible impacts beyond our town, city, and/or nation. It is nearly impossible to wrap our heads around the uncertainties the pandemic has presented for our own future, much less the future of 7 billion others. 

CategoriesBlog Post Opinion

Evaluation in the Age of Climate Change

Between Greta Thunberg’s Time ‘Person of the Year’ awards, and almost concurrent end to a do-nothing UN climate talks in Madrid (to borrow from our US Congress lexicon), two things were reinforced, again, these past weeks: the urgency of climate change, and our inability to address it, at least from on-high.

Remarkably, however, for an industry that is rooted in evidence, which examines disparities in health and well being across time and space (and especially among groups and sub-groups), and which holds dear an ethical mantra of ‘do no harm,’ Evaluation has done little to either mainstream the role of climate in our own practice, nor to ameliorate the industry’s impact (because, while disparate and far flung, we are an industry).

CategoriesBlog Post Opinion Research

DAC Coherence First Thoughts

The OECD-DAC recently added to its list of evaluation criteria—the de facto norm through which organizations like Causal Design frequently organize evaluations and reporting. Specifically, after a multi-year process of considering how to best adapt its existing criteria, OECD added Coherence: How well does the intervention fit? to the existing and remaining five criteria.

Reactions around our proverbial dinner table were appropriately mixed: How does this further a wider learning agenda? How does this differ from the existing Relevance? (which at times already overlaps with Sustainability) What does “fit” actually mean, and how do we use it, and meaningfully?

Grad Fellow Notes: Loops in STATA

This week’s blog will feature a set of Stata tricks we used to addresses a particular issue that we encountered in our dataset.  Many of the variables were in string form and were not useable for Stata analysis.  Furthermore, the values of the variables were not in the correct order for our purposes.  A couple of commands came in handy here.  Loops are useful for many different repetitive commands.  They allowed us to quickly recode the values of a set of variables that have similar categorical values and also enabled us to destring sets of variables, setting them to numeric values.  These numeric values were in turn reordered to fit a desired pattern.  Finally, the labels for the numeric values were recoded to appear as the original text instead of just “1, 2, 3, etc”.