Waylaid Dialectic

May 28, 2015

Spend more on development data!

Filed under: Random Musings — terence @ 7:35 am

File under no brainers:

“Initial estimates from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) suggest $1bn annually to
improve national statistical systems so they could measure the SDGs (Espey et al., 2015). Demombynes and
Sandefur estimate the cost to international donors of improving household surveys would be $300m a year
(Demombynes and Sandefur, 2014). In other words, costs are not likely to be substantial, and it is clear that these
are investments that deliver a significant degree of value for money immediately and in the longer term.”

From this ODI report.

In 2014 OECD DAC donors gave approximately US$135 billion dollars in aid. Let’s assume that SDSN have underestimated the SDG costs by a factor of two, and that the real cost would be $2B … 2/135 = 1.48% of total global aid flows.

That, I think, would be a very small price to pay for actually knowing about development progress, rather than fudging on the basis of sparse and poorly constructed statistics.

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