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:   Afrobasket2015 - La sélection angolaise croise l'All Star d'Espagne (news)
Angola Press Agency
28 July 2015

La sélection nationale sénior masculine de basket-ball affronte jeudi le mixte d'athlètes qui évoluent dans la principale Ligue espagnole de basketball, appelé All ... [read more]

Angola:   Zaire - Saisie des embarcations artisanales pour pêche illégale (news)
Angola Press Agency
28 July 2015

12 embarcations artisanales ont été saisies pendant le week-end dans la municipalité de Soyo, province de Zaire (nord) par les effectifs de la région navale nord de la ... [read more]

Angola:   Détention de plus de cent immigrés illégaux à Zaire (news)
Angola Press Agency
28 July 2015

Cent quatorze immigrés de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), dix-huit de Mauritanie, deux de Guinée Conakry et un Somalien ont été ... [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...