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Assessing the Impact and Cost of Economic Inclusion Programs : A Synthesis of Evidence / Boban Varghese Paul.
Paul, Boban Varghese
Washington, D.C. : The World Bank, 2021.
1 online resource (47 pages)
Dutta, Puja Vasudeva
Policy research working papers
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This paper analyzes global evidence on the impact and costs of economic inclusion programs to transform the economic lives of households and communities living in extreme poverty. The analysis uses 107 quantitative and qualitative impact evaluations from 80 economic inclusion programs. Additionally, the paper presents analysis of costing data from 34 programs, surveyed using a newly developed PEI Quick Costing Tool 2020. The programs represent a range of sectors, geographies, contexts, and target populations; were both nongovernmental organization- and government-led; and represent programs implemented through social safety nets, livelihoods and jobs, and financial inclusion. Despite the challenges of the small number of studies available and limited comparability of impact and cost data, the findings indicate that a broad range of economic inclusion programs show promising and potentially sustained impact on a wide range of outcomes, with a bundled set of interventions showing larger impact on income, assets, and savings relative to stand-alone interventions. In many cases, the overall cost of economic inclusion programs is largely driven by a single component - most frequently, business capital or consumption support. In its discussion, the paper explores drivers of impact and cost optimization strategies, preparing a preliminary understanding of cost-effectiveness of economic inclusion programs. The paper also identifies key areas for further research, including the need to shift the discussion on program impact from stand-alone, nonprofit-led programs to government-led programs; the opportunity to use a more systematic evidence base with comparable impact and cost outcomes and indicators; and prospects for using data, including disaggregated cost data, to inform policy and programming decisions more intentionally.
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