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 - 10 of 20
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.
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, 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 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(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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Blimpo, Moussa P. ; Evans, David ; Lahire, NathalieEducation systems in developing countries are often centrally managed in a top-down structure. In environments where schools have different needs and where localized information plays an important role, empowerment of the local community may be attractive, but low levels of human capital at the local level may offset gains from local information. This paper reports the results of a four-year, large-scale experiment that provided a grant and comprehensive school management training to principals, teachers, and community representatives in a set of schools. To separate the effect of the training from the grant, a second set of schools received the grant only with no training. A third set of schools served as a control group and received neither intervention. Each of 273 Gambian primary schools were randomized to one of the three groups. The program was implemented through the government education system. Three to four years into the program, the full intervention led to a 21 percent reduction in student absenteeism and a 23 percent reduction in teacher absenteeism, but produced no impact on student test scores. The effect of the full program on learning outcomes is strongly mediated by baseline local capacity, as measured by adult literacy. This result suggests that, in villages with high literacy, the program may yield gains on students learning outcomes. Receiving the grant alone had no impact on either test scores or student participation.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-07) Evans, David K. ; Yuan, FeiDespite dramatic global gains in access to education, 130 million girls of school age remain out of school. Among those who do enter, too many do not gain the essential skills to succeed after they complete their schooling. Previous efforts to synthesize evidence on how to improve educational outcomes for girls have tended to focus on interventions that are principally targeted to girls, such as girls' latrines or girls' scholarships. But if general, non-targeted interventions -- those that benefit both girls and boys -- significantly improve girls' education, then focusing only on girl-targeted interventions may miss some of the best investments for improving educational opportunities for girls in absolute terms. This review brings together evidence from 270 educational interventions from 177 studies in 54 low- and middle-income countries and identifies their impacts on girls, regardless of whether the interventions specifically target girls. The review finds that to improve access and learning, general interventions deliver gains for girls that are comparable to girl-targeted interventions. At the same time, many more general interventions have been tested, providing a broader menu of options for policy makers. General interventions have similar impacts for girls as for boys. Many of the most effective interventions to improve access for girls are household-based (such as cash transfer programs), and many of the most effective interventions to improve learning for girls involve improving the pedagogy of teachers. Girl-targeted interventions may make the most sense when addressing constraints that are unique to girls.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-03-01) Evans, David ; Kremer, Michael ; Ngatia, MuthoniThe authors evaluate the impact of an educational intervention, in which a Kenyan non-governmental organization distributes school uniforms to children in poor communities. The Nongovernmental organization (NGO) used a lottery to determine who would receive uniforms. Although compliance with the lottery was not perfect, we use winning the lottery as an instrumental variable to identify the impact of receiving a uniform. The authors find that giving a school uniform significantly reduces school absenteeism by 38 percent. Effects are much larger for poorer students who did not previously own a uniform: a 64 percent reduction in school absenteeism. Preliminary data suggest positive impacts of uniform distribution on test scores in core subjects.
An Analysis of Clinical Knowledge, Absenteeism, and Availability of Resources for Maternal and Child Health: A Cross-Sectional Quality of Care Study in 10 African Countries(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10) Di Giorgio, Laura ; Evans, David K. ; Lindelow, Magnus ; Nguyen, Son Nam ; Svensson, Jakob ; Wane, Waly ; Tarneberg, Anna WelanderThis paper assesses the quality of health care across African countries based on health providers' clinical knowledge, their clinic attendance, and drug availability, with a focus on seven conditions accounting for a large share of child and maternal mortality: malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea, pneumonia, diabetes, neonatal asphyxia, and postpartum hemorrhage. With nationally representative, cross-sectional data from 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, collected using clinical vignettes, unannounced visits, and visual inspections of facilities, this study assesses whether health providers are available and have sufficient knowledge and means to diagnose and treat patients suffering from common conditions amenable to primary health care. The study draws on data from 8,061 primary and secondary care facilities in Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda, and 22,746 health workers. These data were gathered under the Service Delivery Indicators program. Across all conditions and countries, health care providers were able to correctly diagnose 64 percent of the clinical vignette cases, and in 45 percent of the cases, the treatment plan was aligned with the correct diagnosis. For diarrhea and pneumonia, two common causes of under-five deaths, 27 percent of the providers correctly diagnosed and prescribed the appropriate treatment for both conditions. On average, 70 percent of health workers were present in the facilities to provide care during facility hours when those workers were scheduled to be on duty. Taken together, the estimated likelihood that a facility has at least one staff present with competency and the key inputs required to provide child, neonatal, and maternity care that meets minimum quality standards is 14 percent. Poor clinical knowledge is a greater constraint in care readiness than drug availability or health workers' absenteeism in the 10 countries. However, the paper documents substantial heterogeneity across countries.