Trusting Data, Not Hope, to Fight Poverty

Source: The New York Times

An article run in the New York Times by Annie Duflo and Dean Karlan, executive director and founder, respectively, of Innovations for Poverty Action, advocates for the widespread use of data to fight worldwide poverty. Specifically, the two draw attention to the way data often loosens the grip of established wisdom and sees through the overzealous hope of anecdotal evidence.

Using microloans as an example, Duflo and Karlan write, “Six randomized evaluations of microloan programs, for example, published last year in the American Economic Journal, found that microloans, though helpful for the poor, didn’t actually increase income for the average borrower.” The numerous inspiring stories about the success of microloans are, in reality, generally outliers. Additionally, other studies conducted in Zambia and Uganda similarly disrupted traditionally accepted knowledge in global poverty work.

The moral for NGOs and nonprofits: “Hope and rhetoric are great for motivation, but not for figuring out what to do. There you need data.”

Read full story at: The New York Times

Justice & Poverty, News
Justice & Poverty, News