What Development Interventions Work? The long-term impact and cost-effectiveness of anti-poverty interventions in Bangladesh

Lead Research Organisation: Int Food Policy Research Inst
Department Name: Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division

Abstract

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Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The project examined a wide range of long-term outcome variables at the household and individual levels. Long-term impacts on household-level consumption expenditures and asset accumulation were insignificant in the improved vegetables sites, but were positive in the individually operated fishponds sites. At the individual level, early adoption had beneficial effects on nutrient intakes in all sites, but impacts on anthropometric measures of nutritional status were gender-differentiated. Among early adopters in the improved vegetables villages, women's Body Mass Index (BMI) increased while men's BMI decreased. The proportion of stunted girls and thin boys decreased substantially among early adopters in the improved vegetable villages, but stunting rates of girls were higher among early adopters in both individual and group fishponds villages. Differences between short- and long-term impacts of the agricultural technologies arose from dissemination and targeting mechanisms; divisibility of the technology; and intrahousehold resource allocation.

Women's assets were found to increase more when technologies were disseminated through women's groups. In the improved vegetables and group fishpond sites, dissemination through women's groups reduced gender asset inequality in the long-term but husband-wife asset disparities increased in the individual fishpond sites. These results suggest that social capital, as embodied through women's groups, substituted for physical assets in the short run and helped to build up women's asset portfolios in the long run.

The Primary Education Stipend (PES) program was shown to have negligible impacts on school enrollments, expenditures, calorie and protein consumption at the household level. At the individual level, the PES had a negative impact on grade progression, especially among boys from poor households who are ineligible to receive stipends at the secondary level. There were some improvements in height for age among girls and BMI among boys. Nonetheless, the impacts of the PES were remarkably small for a program of its size. Poor targeting, particularly limited coverage and lack of geographical targeting, plus the declining real value of the stipend were the most plausible reasons for this lack of impact.

The qualitative analysis found that educational transfers contributed positively for 29 percent of participants, but its impact was limited by low monetary value of benefits. More than half of respondents had used microfinance for some kind of income-generating activity in their lives. For almost a fifth microfinance was an important cause of wellbeing improvement, but about a third had used microcredit to cope in crises. The life-histories showed little long-term benefit from the agricultural technology programmes, possibly because the technologies were bundled with microfinance and difficult to attribute.

The mixed results of comparing impacts on monetary versus non-monetary measures of well-being illustrated the dilemmas of using cost-effectiveness to rank anti-poverty interventions with different objectives and measures of impact. While the PES and individual fishponds did increase per capita expenditures or assets, they did poorly in terms of improving nutritional status. Assessing the long-term impact and cost-effectiveness of competing development interventions therefore involves trade-offs between objectives, with all the difficulties of welfare ranking and weighting that such trade-offs imply.
Exploitation Route We expect that the project will have impact in the future by increasing attention: (1) of development organizations to the need to monitor and evaluate project impacts over the longer term; (2) of statistical agencies and research organizations to collecting indicators of well-being at the individual level, not just the household level; (3) to measurement of the cost-effectiveness of interventions, which implies the development of indicators to monitor different components of project cost (inclu
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education

URL http://www.ifpri.org/publication/long-term-impact-development-interventions-rural-bangladesh
 
Description The series of papers produced by this project are among the few to estimate long-term impacts of anti-poverty interventions and compare them with earlier estimates of short-term impacts. One of the papers has also been singled out as a 'model case' of an ex-post impact assessment that paid attention to gender issues by a review conducted by the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The use of both quantitative and qualitative methods in this study also contributes to the growing acceptance of "q-squared" research for undertaking economic and social impact assessment. Material from the project was also used in a course on "Special topics in Gender and Development," at the Intensive Summer Program, National Graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan, August 9-13, 2010. The research undertaken in this project has helped influence both the policy debate in Bangladesh and in the wider development community concerned with the design and evaluation of anti-poverty programmes. While it is difficult to attribute causality, towards the end of the project, we learned that changes to the primary education stipend program in Bangladesh were to be made. The Bangladeshi government has referred to our work (in addition to other IFPRI work on gender and food security) in devising its Food Security Investment Strategy and related activities under the US Government's Feed the Future Initiative; there is a strong focus on addressing gender inequalities in its food security initiatives. In the broader development community, donors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are paying greater attention to reduction of gender asset inequality in evaluating development projects; both DfID and the US Government have placed increased emphasis on food security and gender inequality in recent initiatives (notably the Feed the Future Initiative of the US Government). To date, we can only demonstrate impact on the design of new anti-poverty or development initiatives; whether our findings affect outcomes of these initiatives can only be discerned in the longer term.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Establishment of Policy Research Strategy Support Program in Bangladesh
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact Many of the topics addressed by the study influenced the design of the Bangladesh Policy Research Strategy Support Program, funded by USAID, to give advice on food policy and related issues to the Government of Bangladesh. Issues addressed by the PRSSP include providing advice on transfer programs to improve women's empowerment, agriculture, and nutrition.
 
Description Recommendation on extension of primary education stipend
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact Evidence provided supported the extension of the primary education stipend, which has helped to increase school attendance and narrow the gender gap in schooling in Bangladesh
 
Title Bangladesh Long-term Impact Study dataset 
Description The Chronic Poverty and Long Term Impact Study in Bangladesh project, which focuses on 102 villages characteristic of rural Bangladesh, aims to further our understanding of the economic, social and political processes that shape chronic poverty in Bangladesh together with the impact of selected anti-poverty interventions on poverty dynamics. After initial community level fieldwork approximately 1,907 core households first surveyed in 1994, 1996, or 2000 were interviewed in late 2006 to ascertain how their living standards, endowment and other characteristics have changed over time and what role selected interventions have had on their welfare trajectories. 365 households who had split from their original households were also interviewed Detailed life-histories were then collected from a stratified sub-sample of approximately 293 adult men and women living in 161 households in order to better understand which events, institutions and processes have trapped certain households in chronic poverty while allowing others to escape from it. By analysing the results of the community level focus groups, panel survey and life-histories interviews together, a much fuller and more nuanced understanding of chronic poverty and the impact of the selected interventions is produced. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2010 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Various researchers have downloaded this data set for their own research. 
URL http://www.ifpri.org/dataset/chronic-poverty-and-long-term-impact-study-bangladesh
 
Description Bangladesh Policy Research Strategy Support Program (PRSSP), Phases 1 and 2 
Organisation United States Agency for International Development
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Dr. Akhter Ahmed, who is a member of the research team, is Chief of Party of the PRSSP, based in Dhaka, and liaises regularly with the Government of Bangladesh and the USAID Mission on issues of agricultural policy and food security.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners are funding a large, multi-year policy support program to the Government of Bangladesh, which has enabled IFPRI to set up an Agricultural Policy Support Unit at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Impact Please see URL above for a direct link to the outputs and outcomes
Start Year 2010
 
Description "50m people still live in extreme poverty: Women's empowerment a must to end hunger, malnutrition, say experts." 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Article in New Age newspaper (Bangladesh)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description "Experts for redesigning pry edn stipend scheme." 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Newspaper article in The News Today (Bangladesh)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description "Experts for redesigning pry edn stipend scheme." 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact News article in Digital Yarns
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description "PES programme needs major redesigning." 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Newspaper article in The Financial Express (Bangladesh)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description "Primary Education Stipend scheme needs overhaul." 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Newspaper Article in The Daily Star
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description "Redesigning of PES stressed." 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Newspaper article in The Independent (Bangladesh)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description "The Missing Ingredient: A recipe for change," TEDx presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact TEDx presentation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.ted.com/tedx/events/1392.html
 
Description Anti-poverty scheme : Govt officials, civil society men meet 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Newspaper article for Bangladeshi news source

Newspaper article in The New Nation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description CAPRi International Workshop on Gender and Collective Action 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop disseminating interim findings in Dhaka
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Community outreach event in study community 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Community outreach event in one of the study communities, Saturia, Manikganj District, facilitated by NGOs

Community outreach event in one of the study communities, Saturia, Manikganj District, facilitated by NGOs
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Dissemination workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Dissemination workshop in Dhaka to researcher and policymaker community
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Material from the project was also used in a course on "Special topics in Gender and Development," at the Intensive Summer Program, National Graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan, 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Information from project used in a course for graduate students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description New project in the offing : donors meet Tuesday to design development schemes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Newspaper article published by the Daily Star in Bangladesh about donors meeting to create a new developpment project

The Daily Star
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description New study to assess anti-poverty programmes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Newspaper article published by New Age National (Bangladesh)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Panel presentation at the CPRC Conference on "Ten years of war against poverty" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Dissemination activity in line with project's stakeholder engagement strategy

Academics who would have been influenced by this work include those working on impact evaluation, human capital, food security, and gender and intrahousehold issues, whether in academic institutions or in policy research organizations, as well as multi-organization initiatives like the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Presentation at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's "Intrahousehold Convening" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation at policy oriented conference in Washington, DC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Presentation at Initiative to End Hunger in Africa (IEHA)'s Gender Assessment Methodology Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation at policy-oriented conference organized by USAID in Washington, DC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Presentation at Millenium Challenge Corporation Inaugural Impact Evaluation Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation in Washington, DC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Presentation at Millenium Challenge Corporation Inaugural Impact Evaluation Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation in Washington, DC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Presentation at the "Mind the Gap" Conference on Impact Evaluation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Dissemination activity undertaken in line with stakeholder engagement strategies.

Academics who would have been influenced by this work include those working on impact evaluation, human capital, food security, and gender and intrahousehold issues, whether in academic institutions or in policy research organizations, as well as multi-organization initiatives like the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Presentation to World Bank Development Report team 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation to World Bank Development Report team
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Presentation to the Asia Foundation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to The Asia Foundation Washington, DC office
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Press briefing 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press briefing in Dhaka
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Stakeholder consultation and project launch workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Consultation with stakeholders and launch of project in Dhaka

Consultation of stakeholders and launch of project in Dhaka
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Three presentations at the CPRC 'Ten Years of War Against Poverty' conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation at policy-oriented conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010