Evans, David K.
Africa Chief Economist’s Office
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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 - 10 of 38
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012-05-29) Evans, David K. ; Kosec, KatrinaThis report draws deeply on the extraordinary efforts and innovations demonstrated by early child development policy makers around Brazil. This report draws on background papers about innovations in early child education in Rio de Janeiro and in caregiver training and supervision in two municipalities within Sao Paulo state. The year 2011 marked the beginning of a new administration in Brazil. The Ministry of education clearly identified early child education (ECE) as one of the top priorities of the new administration, along with secondary school and improving the reputation of the teaching profession. Early child development interventions are essential to both increasing the productivity of Brazil as a whole and to providing equitable opportunities for the disadvantaged. These programs benefit the poor more than other populations, and the poor are most in need of these benefits. Education interventions are crucial. Creches and preschools provide opportunities for stimulation and development that can wire children for future success. Therefore, early child education can particularly benefit the poor, helping to close the gap in cognitive development across income groups. A World Bank study compares adults from two regions of Brazil (the Northeast and the Southeast) who attended preschool to those who did not and found that pre-school attendance is associated with additional total years of education.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-03-04) Evans, David K. ; Hausladen, Stephanie ; Kosec, Katrina ; Reese, NatashaGiven the success of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs elsewhere, in 2010 the Government of Tanzania rolled out a pilot CCT program in three districts. Its aim was to see if, using a model relying on communities to target beneficiaries and deliver payments, the program could improve outcomes for the poor the way centrally-run CCT programs have in other contexts. The program provided cash payments to poor households, but conditioned payments on complying with certain health and education requirements. Given scarce resources, the Government randomly selected 40 out of 80 eligible villages to receive the pilot program. Households in participating and comparison villages were broadly comparable at baseline. This report describes the program and the results of a rigorous, mixed methods impact evaluation. Two and a half years into the program, participating households were healthier and more educated. Health improvements due to the CCT program were greatest for the poorest half of households—the poorest of the poor. They experienced a half a day per month reduction in sick days on average, and poor children age 0-4 in particular had a full day per month reduction in sick days. In education, the program showed clear positive impacts on whether children had ever attended school and on whether they completed Standard 7. Households were also more likely to buy shoes for children, which can promote both health and school attendance. In response to the program, households also made investments to reduce risk: Participating households were much more likely to finance medical care with insurance and much more likely to purchase health insurance than were their comparison counterparts. The program did not significantly affect savings on aeverage, although it did increase non-bank savings amongst the poorest half of households. Participating households also invested in more livestock assets, which they used to create small enterprises. The program did not, however, have significant impacts on food consumption. On the whole, the results suggest that households focused on reducing risk and on improving their livelihoods rather than principally on increasing consumption. There is also evidence that the project had positive effects on community cohesion.
Early Childhood Development Operations in Latin and Caribbean Region (LCR) : Jamaica, Mexico, and Brazil in Focus(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-02) Holland, Peter ; Evans, DavidThe rationale and evidence of the effectiveness of investing early in children is compelling: early childhood is the most rapid period of development in a human life, with incredible brain development occurring (85 percent of the brain is wired by age 5). Investments in Early Childhood Development (ECD) are among the most effective and cost-effective investments a country can make in its people. Simply put, investing in ECD is an investment for life. Children who participate in ECD programs demonstrate improved school readiness, success, and completion; improved health; reduced risky behavior and crime; and higher productivity and income. Perhaps most importantly for public policy, delays in early childhood are difficult and costly to reverse later in life. The World Bank is particularly well-poised to help clients further the ECD agenda in their countries and improve medium and long-term development for generations to come. Given the inherently multi-sectoral nature of ECD interventions, including inter alia health, education, social protection, and the water sectors, the Bank also multi-sectoral in nature has a comparative advantage in working in this area, and can truly be more than the sum of its parts leveraging its deep sectoral expertise on issues from water and urban development to education and health and creating synergies across those areas. This note discusses how the Bank can work with clients to develop the policies and strategies for comprehensive child development, and to scale-up quality services to children. It presents case studies from three diverse countries and highlights a wide range of the types of operations offered: a multi-sector investment project with disbursements linked to specific results achieved in Jamaica, a traditional sector-specific project in Mexico, and a program of impact evaluations in Brazil. The purpose is to demonstrate the variety of instruments the Bank has, and the tailored approach that the Bank uses to respond to specific client demands for collaborating in the area of ECD.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-05) Evans, David K. ; Popova, AnnaCash transfers have been demonstrated to improve education and health outcomes and alleviate poverty in various contexts. However, policy makers and others often express concern that poor households will use transfers to buy alcohol, tobacco, or other "temptation goods." The income effect of transfers will increase expenditures if alcohol and tobacco are normal goods, but this may be offset by other effects, including the substitution effect, the effect of social messaging about the appropriate use of transfers, and the effect of shifting dynamics in intra-household bargaining. The net effect is ambiguous. This paper reviews 19 studies with quantitative evidence on the impact of cash transfers on temptation goods, as well as 11 studies that surveyed the number of respondents who reported they used transfers for temptation goods. Almost without exception, studies find either no significant impact or a significant negative impact of transfers on temptation goods. In the only (two, non-experimental) studies with positive significant impacts, the magnitude is small. This result is supported by data from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. A growing number of studies from a range of contexts therefore indicate that concerns about the use of cash transfers for alcohol and tobacco consumption are unfounded.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-09) Sabarwal, Shwetlena ; Evans, David K. ; Marshak, AnastasiaA textbook provision program in Sierra Leone demonstrates how volatility in the flow of government-provided learning inputs to schools can induce storage of these inputs by school administrators to smooth future consumption. This process in turn leads to low current utilization of inputs for student learning. A randomized trial of a public program providing textbooks to primary schools had modest positive impacts on teacher behavior but no impacts on student performance. In many treatment schools, student access to textbooks did not actually increase because a large majority of the books were stored rather than distributed to students. At the same time, the propensity to save books was positively correlated with uncertainty on the part of head teachers regarding government transfers of books. The evidence suggests that schools that have high uncertainty with respect to future transfers are more likely to store a high proportion of current transfers. These results show that reducing uncertainty in school input flows could result in higher current input use for student learning. For effective program design, public policy programs must take forward-looking behavior among intermediate actors into account.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-09) Evans, David K. ; Popova, AnnaAs evidence from rigorous impact evaluations grows in development, there have been more calls to complement impact evaluation analysis with cost analysis, so that policy makers can make investment decisions based on costs as well as impacts. This paper discusses important considerations for implementing cost-effectiveness analysis in the policy making process. The analysis is applied in the context of education interventions, although the findings generalize to other areas. First, the paper demonstrates a systematic method for characterizing the sensitivity of impact estimates. Second, the concept of context-specificity is applied to cost measurement: program costs vary greatly across contexts -- both within and across countries -- and with program complexity. The paper shows how adapting a single cost ingredient across settings dramatically shifts cost-effectiveness measures. Third, the paper provides evidence that interventions with fewer beneficiaries tend to have higher per-beneficiary costs, resulting in potential cost overestimates when extrapolating to large-scale applications. At the same time, recall bias may result in cost underestimates. The paper also discusses other challenges in measuring and extrapolating cost-effectiveness measures. For cost-effectiveness analysis to be useful, policy makers will require detailed, comparable, and timely cost reporting, as well as significant effort to ensure costs are relevant to the local environment.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-07) Evans, David K. ; Goldstein, Markus ; Popova, AnnaThe ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa has put a huge strain on already weak health systems. Ebola deaths have been disproportionately concentrated among health care workers, exacerbating existing skill shortages in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in a way that will negatively affect the health of the populations even after Ebola has been eliminated. This paper combines data on cumulative health care worker deaths from Ebola, the stock of health care workers and mortality rates pre-Ebola, and coefficients that summarize the relationship between health care workers in a given country and rates of maternal, infant, and under-five mortality. The paper estimates how the loss of health care workers to Ebola will likely affect non-Ebola mortality even after the disease is eliminated. It then estimates the size of the resource gap that needs to be filled to avoid these deaths, and to reach the minimum thresholds of health coverage described in the Millennium Development Goals. Maternal mortality could increase by 38 percent in Guinea, 74 percent in Sierra Leone, and 111 percent in Liberia due to the reduction in health personnel caused by the epidemic. This translates to an additional 4,022 women dying per year across the three most affected countries. To avoid these deaths, 240 doctors, nurses, and midwives would need to be immediately hired across the three countries. This is a small fraction of the 43,565 doctors, nurses, and midwives that would need to be hired to achieve the adequate health coverage implied by the Millennium Development Goals. Substantial investment in health systems is urgently required not only to improve future epidemic preparedness, but also to limit the secondary health effects of the current epidemic owing to the depletion of the health workforce.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-06) Holland, Peter ; Alfaro, Pablo ; Evans, David K.Countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are reforming their education systems with the view of adding more hours to the school day. This paper examines the existing evidence on the relationship between instructional time and student learning, and reviews 15 studies measuring the effects of longer school days. It draws on examples throughout the region to characterize differences in the implementation of extended school day programs, and provides one detailed case study and cost-effectiveness exercise (for Uruguay). While the evidence suggests positive impacts across a range of outcome variables, including gains in student learning, reductions in repetition and dropout, and reductions in teenage pregnancy, there is considerable heterogeneity across programs and studies. Even using the most optimistic impact estimates, a cost-effectiveness exercise suggests that there are likely many more cost-effective reforms to achieve similar effects. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for policy makers and practitioners considering an extension of the school day.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-02) Evans, David K. ; Popova, AnnaThe 2014 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa is the largest to date by far. Ebola Virus Disease causes disproportionate mortality among the working-age population, resulting in far more mortality for parents of young children than other health crises. This paper combines data on the age distribution of current and projected mortality from Ebola with the fertility distribution of adults in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, to estimate the likely impact of the epidemic on the number of orphans in these three countries. Using the latest mortality estimates (from February 11, 2015), it is estimated that more than 9,600 children have lost one or both parents to Ebola Virus Disease. The absolute numbers of orphans created by the Ebola epidemic are significant, but represent a small fraction (1.4 percent) of the existing orphan burden in the affected countries. Ebola is unlikely to increase the numbers of orphans beyond extended family networks' capacities to absorb them. Nonetheless, the pressures of caring for increased numbers of orphans may result in lower quality of care. These estimates should be used to guide policy to support family networks to improve the capacity to provide high quality care to orphans.
Publication(Elsevier, 2015-07-09) Evans, David K. ; Goldstein, Markus ; Popova, AnnaThe authors modelled how the loss of health-care workers—defined here as doctors, nurses, and midwives—to Ebola might affect maternal, infant, and under-5 mortality in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with the aim of characterising the order of magnitude of likely effects, not providing specific predictions. The authors combined data on: (1) health-care worker deaths from Ebola; (2) the stock of health-care workers pre-Ebola; (3) maternal, infant, and under-5 mortality rates for each country, pre-Ebola; and (4) coefficients of health-care worker mortality, which capture the relation between health-care workers in a given country and different mortality rates (ie, maternal, infant, and under-5 mortality).