The importance of evidence in development policy and practice


USAID kicked off Agency Learning and Evidence Month 2023 with an exciting opening plenary on the importance of evidence in development policymaking on 3 April 2023. Evidence champions from inside and outside of the Agency, co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT and Nobel Laureate, Esther Duflo, deputy administrator Isobel Coleman and chief economist Dean Karlan, reflected on two decades of evidence-building efforts and the transformative shifts that evidence has had and will continue to have on development policy and practice.

The month-long virtual series of learning events highlights how evidence from the 2022-2026 USAID Agency Learning Agenda can support the Agency workforce as USAID furthers its policy priorities.

In the opening session Esther Duflo remarked on the dramatic change witnessed in the policy landscape over the last 70-years, linking it to a greater willingness among practitioners and policymakers to be more pragmatic in the problems that they attempt address abroad, and a shift among governments to aim for human welfare objectives, as opposed to purely financial stability objectives. Both of these developments, she argued, have paved the way for greater effort and ability to generate evidence based policy interventions among governments and development partner organisations, like USAID. Read Esther Duflo and Isobel Coleman’s full comments from the discussion here.

08h30-10h30 ET
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Esther Duflo

Co-founder and co-director, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)



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