Evans, David K.
Africa Chief Economist’s Office
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Education, Social Development
Africa Chief Economist’s Office
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated July 27, 2023
Bio: David is a Lead Economist in the Chief Economist's Office for the Africa Region of the World Bank. He coordinates impact evaluation work across sectors for the Africa Region. In the past, he worked as Senior Economist in the Human Development Department in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank, and as an economist designing and implementing impact evaluations in Africa. He has designed and implemented impact evaluations in agriculture, education, health, and social protection, in Brazil, the Gambia, Kenya, Mexico, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. He has taught economic development at the Pardee RAND Graduate School of Public Policy, and he holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015-04) Chuhan-Pole, Punam ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Christiaensen, Luc ; Evans, David ; Kambou, Gerard ; Boreux, Sebastien ; Korman, Vijdan ; Kubota, Megumi ; Buitano, Mapi ; Chuhan-Pole, Punam ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Litwack, John ; Savescu, Cristina ; Tchana Tchana, FulbertAfrica’s Pulse is a biannual publication containing an analysis of the near-term macro-economic outlook for the region. It also includes a section focusing on a topic that represents a particular development challenges for the continent. It is produced by the Office of the Chief Economist for the Africa Region.This issue is an analysis of issues shaping Africa's economic future. Growth remains stable in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some countries are seeing a slowdown, but the region's economic prospects remain broadly favorable. External risks of higher global financial market volatility and lower growth in emerging market economies weigh on the downside. In several Sub-Saharan African countries, large budgetary imbalances are a source of vulnerability to exogenous shocks and underscore the need for rebuilding fiscal buffers in these countries. The Ebola outbreak is exacting a heavy human and economic toll on affected countries and, if not rapidly contained, the risk of wider contagion grows. Without a scale-up of effective interventions, growth would slow markedly not only in the core countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone), but also in the sub region as transportation, cross-border trade, and supply chains are severely disrupted. In Sub-Saharan Africa, growth in agriculture and services is more effective at reducing poverty than growth in industry. Structural transformation has a role to play in accelerating poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing agricultural productivity will be critical to fostering structural transformation. Boosting rural income diversification can facilitate this transformation, as well. Investments in rural public goods and services (for example, education, health, rural roads, electricity and ICT), including in small towns, will be conducive to lifting productivity in the rural economy. Although Sub-Saharan Africa's pattern of growth has largely bypassed manufacturing, growing the region's manufacturing base, especially by improving its fundamentals, lower transport cost, cheaper and more reliable power, and a more educated labor force, will benefit all sectors.
Publication(Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, 2019-06) Evans, David K. ; Holtemeyer, Brian ; Kosec, KatrinaHow do cash transfers conditioned on health clinic visits and school attendance impact health-related outcomes? Examining the 2010 randomized introduction of a program in Tanzania, this paper finds nuanced impacts. An initial surge in clinic visits after 1.5 years—due to more visits by those already complying with program health conditions and by non-compliers—disappeared after 2.5 years, largely due to compliers reducing above-minimal visits. The study finds significant increases in take-up of health insurance and the likelihood of seeking treatment when ill. Health improvements were concentrated among children ages 0–5 years rather than the elderly, and took time to materialize; the study finds no improvements after 1.5 years, but 0.76 fewer sick days per month after 2.5 years, suggesting the importance of looking beyond short-term impacts. Reductions in sick days were largest in villages with more baseline health workers per capita, consistent with improvements being sensitive to capacity constraints. These results are robust to adjustments for multiple hypothesis testing.
The Skills Balancing Act in Sub-Saharan Africa: Investing in Skills for Productivity, Inclusivity, and Adaptability(Washington, DC: World Bank and Agence française de développement, 2019-06-10) Arias, Omar ; Evans, David K. ; Santos, IndhiraSub-Saharan Africa has the youngest population of any region of the world, and that growing working-age population represents a major opportunity to reduce poverty and increase shared prosperity. But the region’s workforce is the least skilled in the world, constraining economic prospects. Despite economic growth, declining poverty, and investments in skills-building, too many students in too many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are not acquiring the foundational skills they need to thrive and prosper in an increasingly competitive global economy. This report examines the balancing act that individuals and countries face in making productive investments in both a wide range of skills – cognitive, socio-emotional, and technical – and a wide range of groups – young children through working adults – so that Sub-Saharan Africa will thrive.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-11) Evans, David K. ; Holtemeyer, Brian ; Kosec, KatrinaHow do conditional cash transfers impact health-related outcomes? This paper examines the 2010 randomized introduction of a program in Tanzania and finds nuanced impacts. An initial surge in clinic visits after 1.5 years -- due to more visits by those already complying with program health conditions and by non-compliers -- disappeared after 2.5 years, largely due to compliers reducing above-minimal visits. The study finds significant increases in take-up of health insurance and the likelihood of seeking treatment when ill. Health improvements were concentrated among children ages 0–5 years rather than the elderly, and took time to materialize; the study finds no improvements after 1.5 years, but 0.76 fewer sick days per month after 2.5 years, suggesting the importance of looking beyond short-term impacts. Reductions in sick days were largest in villages with more baseline health workers per capita, consistent with improvements being sensitive to capacity constraints. These results are robust to adjustments for multiple hypothesis testing.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-04) Evans, David K. ; Ngatia, MũthoniAccess to school has risen dramatically in recent decades, with large gains from reducing costs. Few studies report long-term impacts, however. This paper reports the impact of an educational intervention that reduced out-of-pocket schooling costs for children in poor communities in Kenya by providing school uniforms. The program used a lottery to determine who would receive a school uniform. Receiving a uniform reduced school absenteeism by 37 percent for the average student (7 percentage points) and by 55 percent for children who initially had no uniform (15 percentage points). Eight years after the program began, there is no evidence of sustained impact of the program on highest grade completed or primary school completion rates. A bounding exercise suggests no substantive positive, long-term impacts. These results contribute to a small literature that demonstrates the risk of fade-out of initial impacts of education investments.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-02) Evans, David K. ; Holtemeyer, Brian ; Kosec, KatrinaHow does a locally-managed conditional cash transfer program impact trust in government? On the one hand, delivering monetary benefits and increasing interactions with government officials (elected and appointed) may increase trust. On the other hand, imposing paternalistic conditions, leading some to experience feelings of social stigma or guilt, and potentially permitting capture by local elites could reduce trust. This paper answers this question by exploiting the randomized introduction of a locally-managed transfer program in Tanzania in 2010, which included popular election of community management committees to run the program. The analysis reveals that cash transfers can significantly increase trust in leaders. This effect is driven by large increases in trust in elected leaders as opposed to appointed bureaucrats. Perceptions of government responsiveness to citizens' concerns and honesty of leaders also rise; these improvements are largest where there are more village meetings at baseline. One of the central roles of village meetings is to receive and share information with village residents. One indicator that governance may have improved is that records from school and health committees are more readily available in treatment villages. Notably, while the stated willingness of citizens to participate in community development projects rises, actual participation in projects and the likelihood of voting does not. Concerns that local management of a cash transfer program will destroy trust in government or reduce the quality of governance appear unfounded—especially in high-information contexts.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-02) Evans, David K. ; Yuan, FeiIn the past decade, hundreds of impact evaluation studies have measured the learning outcomes of education interventions in developing countries. The impact magnitudes are often reported in terms of "standard deviations," making them difficult to communicate to policy makers beyond education specialists. This paper proposes two approaches to demonstrate the effectiveness of learning interventions, one in "equivalent years of schooling" and another in the net present value of potential increased lifetime earnings. The results show that in a sample of low- and middle-income countries, one standard deviation gain in literacy skill is associated with between 4.7 and 6.8 additional years of schooling, depending on the estimation method. In other words, over the course of a business-as-usual school year, students learn between 0.15 and 0.21 standard deviation of literacy ability. Using that metric to translate the impact of interventions, a median structured pedagogy intervention increases learning by the equivalent of between 0.6 and 0.9 year of business-as-usual schooling. The results further show that even modest gains in standard deviations of learning -- if sustained over time -- may have sizeable impacts on individual earnings and poverty reduction, and that conversion into a non-education metric should help policy makers and non-specialists better understand the potential benefits of increased learning.