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:   Huambo - Public Prosecutor Calls for Sentence On Kalupeteka, Followers (news)
Angola Press Agency
12 February 2016

The Public prosecutor Thursday in central Huambo province called for sentences on the leader of the religious sect "Luz do Mundo", José Julino Kalupeteka, and his follower for the murder of ... [read more]

Afrique Centrale:   Les Chefs de la Diplomatie de la CIRGL se concertent ! (news)
La Prospérité
12 February 2016

Raymond Tshibanda a pris part hier, jeudi 11 février, à la réunion des ministres des Affaires étrangères de la CIRGL en Angola. Au centre des échanges des ... [read more]

Angola:   Lunda Norte - Over 200 DRC Citizens Arrested for Illegal Immigration (news)
Angola Press Agency
12 February 2016

The police of the 7th border unit in the north-east Lunda Norte province arrested on 1-8 February this year, at least 279 citizens from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for illegal immigration. [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...