5.3.2 Use RCTs to produce the cost-benefit analyses needed to inform policy

Needs assessments, process evaluations, and impact evaluations can be used in tandem to produce a cost-benefit analysis. Needs assessments identify opportunity costs, process evaluations allow for a careful quantification of costs (and may be used to help lower costs or increase efficiency), and impact evaluations demonstrate the benefits. Together, this information makes the business case for a program or project. It goes beyond program impact to isolate the cost-effectiveness of a particular intervention. Multiple cost-benefit analyses would enable the YEO field to create a menu of programs based on “bang for buck.” For example, RCTs from the educational field have enabled researchers at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) to compare educational interventions in terms of their impact on student attendance.


  • 1. Excerpted from the presentation of Ms. Kelly Bidwell, Director of the Post-Conflict Recovery and Fragile States Initiative at Innovations for Poverty Action,” at the 2012 GYEOC.