Hugh Waddington

Designation: Economist
Hugh Waddington is an economist at the Environmental Health Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has advanced degrees in development economics and environmental health. He specializes in policy research on topics like water, sanitation and hygiene, governance and agriculture using methods like impact evaluation, systematic review, and meta-analysis. Formerly, he was a Senior Evaluation Specialist at 3ie.

Blogs by author

MDG for water: is the job done?

Water provision remains high on the global development agenda including political commitments such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and associated post-2015 targets. By 2012, the United Nations declared that governments had met the MDG drinking water target to ‘halve the number without access to safe drinking water (defined as access to water from an improved source within 1 kilometre of the household).’  This suggests that some development efforts are working.

Myths about microcredit and meta-analysis

It is widely claimed that microcredit lifts people out of poverty and empowers women. But evidence to support such claims is often anecdotal. A typical micro-finance organisation website paints a picture of very positive impact through stories: “Small loans enable them (women) to transform their lives, their children’s futures and their communities. 

How 3ie is tackling the challenges of producing high-quality policy-relevant systematic reviews in international development

At its annual colloquium being held in Hyderabad, India, the Cochrane Collaboration is focusing on evidence on the global burden of disease of mostly treatable illnesses that are concentrated among populations living in low- and middle-income countries (L&MICs).  We already have a lot of systematic review evidence about what works to prevent and treat them.  Yet they remain prevalent due to the lack of resources, implementation capacity and population attitudes.

How much evidence is enough for action?

One of the most useful ways in which evidence from rigorous evaluations can be used is to help policymakers take decisions on going to scale. Notable recent examples of scaled-up interventions based on high-quality synthesised evidence are conditional cash transfers programmes and early child development (pre-school) programmes.

Of sausages and systematic reviews

We know that systematic reviews can be a very good accountability exercise in helping answer the question “do we know whether a particular programme is beneficial or harmful?”. So instead of cherry picking our favourable development stories, we collect and synthesise all the rigorous evidence.