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:

Angola:   Singer Suzana Rodrigues Highlights Gospel Music in Civic Values' Retrieval (news)
Angola Press Agency
25 July 2016

Gospel music has the power to help take people out of the world of drugs and other deviant behaviours, said last Friday in Luanda the Angolan singer Suzana Rodrigues. In an interview to ANGOP about ... [read more]

Angola:   Bishop Gabriel Mbilinge Reaffirms Secam Objectives (news)
Angola Press Agency
25 July 2016

The re-elected president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), bishop Gabriel Mbilinge, said Sunday in Luanda that the aim of this institution is to promote ... [read more]

Angola:   Bic Bank, Agriculture Sector Promote Workshop On Investments, Partnerships (news)
Angola Press Agency
25 July 2016

The Ministry of Agriculture and the BIC bank will promote on Tuesday, in Luanda, at one the hotels of the capital city, Luanda, a workshop with the theme "Angola and agricultural investments, ... [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!