Can Moneyball for Government Maximize Impact on the Ground?

By Gretchen Knoth   Oct. 6, 2015

Dr. Rajiv ShahThe foreign aid landscape is gradually evolving. Relatively new agencies and initiatives like the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the President's Malaria Initiative, the Global Fund and others, are taking an evidence-based, results-oriented approach to solving development challenges.

Often criticized for being slow to adopt rigorous methods for program design and evaluation, development organizations have started to prioritize the use of data when making management or programmatic decisions. Speaking on a panel about a new chapter they coauthored in the book "Moneyball for Government", Rajiv Shah and Michael Gerson highlighted how technological advancements have made improved data collection possible. They acknowledged that this process will be even more difficult going forward as more and more aid is channeled to fragile and conflict-affected states, but emphasized its importance in allowing policymakers to make smart, informed decisions to maximize impact on the ground.

The panel was part of an event hosted by Results for America and Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and McCourt School of Public Policy on how data, evidence and evaluation can help guide policy reform and budget allocation. Rajiv Shah is Distinguished Fellow in Residence in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and former Administrator of USAID. Joel Hellman moderated the panel in his new role as the Dean of the School of Foreign Service. He previously served as the first institutional economist at the World Bank where he was a specialist on governance, conflict and development.

Gretchen Knoth is a member of the Global Human Development Program Class of 2016.