The Costs of Inaction

From AfricaCan End Poverty Tue Jan 22 2013, 11:42:46

Sudhir Anand and co-authors recently published a fascinating book, The Costs of Inaction, which looks at cost-benefit analysis in a different way. All cost-benefit analysis requires the analyst to specify a counterfactual--how the world would have evolved in the absence of the project of program. This is critical. An evaluation in Kenya included increased use of cellphones as an indicator of project success -- neglecting the fact that cellphone use in neighboring villages was just as widespread.

In many cases, the counterfactual could be "doing nothing." For a number of important areas such as health and education in Africa, The Costs of Inaction calculates the costs of doing nothing in terms of lives lost or under-educated children.

They then compare these to the net benefits (benefits minus costs) of various programs, such as school feeding in Rwanda or free male circumcision in Angola. The difference between the net benefits of the program and the costs of doing nothing is what they call "the costs of inaction."

In the book, the programs that are being evaluated are typically government programs. Yet, we know that the delivery of health and education services in Africa suffers from multiple government failures. Teachers in Tanzania are absent 23 percent of the time. When present, they are in class teaching a quarter of the time. In Chad, the share of nonwage health spending that reaches the clinic is one percent. And doctors in Senegal spend a total of 39 minutes a day seeing patients.

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse

You might also be interested in the following news stories:

Afrique:   Finale Afrobasket 2015 - Le Nigéria detrône l'Angola (news)
Sud Quotidien
31 August 2015

L'équipe du Nigéria de basket-ball a finalement connu les joies d'un sacre continental en remportant ce dimanche, 30 août, en Tunisie le premier Afrobasket de son histoire. Les ... [read more]

Afrique:   Afrobasket 2015 - Le Nigéria détrône l'Angola (news)
Africa Top Sports
31 August 2015

Le Nigéria est devenu dimanche champion d'Afrique de basket-ball pour la première fois de son histoire. Les D Tigers ont remporté l'Afrobasket 2015 en dominant l'Angola 74-65 ... [read more]

Afrique Centrale:   La réunion du Caucus Africain appelle au rééchelonnement de la dette souveraine (news)
Angola Press Agency
30 August 2015

Le rééchelonnement de la dette souveraine des pays qui forment le Caucus Africain figure parmi les questions pour lesquelles des appels ont été lancés par les ... [read more]

blogAfrica is's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!

Today's Featured News
Mozambique Ruling Party Faces Tough Contest

Renamo supporters: Ruling Frelimo faces a stern challenge at Wednesday's polls from...

Surge in Central African Republic Violence

African Union troops in Bangui (file photo): The UN has expressed alarm...

Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana Get Crucial Wins

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana (file photo): The Super Eagles have boosted their...