Is Development Economics a Good Investment?: Evidence on Scaling Rate and Social Returns
WHENMay 26, 2021 5:30-6:45pmWHERE
WHONYU Abu Dhabi InstituteOpen to the Public
We develop a method to establish a lower bound on the benefit-cost ratio of development innovation funds by comparing the benefits of a subset of innovations which scaled to the cost of the entire portfolio. Applying the method to the early USAID Development Innovation Ventures portfolio suggests each dollar spent generated at least $17 in social benefits. Predictors of innovation scaling include low unit costs, distribution through existing large business or government, and rigorous A/B tests or Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) in collaboration with development economics researchers. A model accounting for these results suggests that funders seeking social returns can exploit arbitrage opportunities by investing in innovations for which expected social returns likely exceed private returns.
* Time: 5:30pm Gulf Standard Time 9:30am Eastern Daylight Time
Arlie Petters, Provost, NYUAD
Michael Kremer, Nobel Laureate; University Professor and Director of the Development Innovation Lab, University of Chicago
Torsten Figueiredo Walter, Assistant Professor of Economics, NYUAD
Yaw Nyarko, Professor of Economics and Director, DevLab, NYUAD
In Collaboration with
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