When we consider the vast sums that governments spend — and the responsibility public officials bear — it seems crazy that policy makers don’t routinely make good use of evidence. The new White House effort to base spending decisions on hard evidence is a step toward delivering more social good per taxpayer dollar.Read More
The militarization of police forces in cases such as Ferguson, Missouri’s riots has led the state of Utah to question what can be done to prevent such an overuse of force from happening. Utah expanded upon a law passed by Democratic legislature in Maryland, which Utah’s ACLU reworked with some libertarians, to require the police to provide data about SWAT team usage. Utah’s success demonstrates that demilitarization bills passed with bipartisan support are not impossible.Read More
With more and more Americans having to pay medical costs out of pocket, a small company out of Philadelphia called ELAP is on the front lines of the war against escalating charges. By helping overwhelmed patients to de-mystify and negotiate medical bills, they are ensuring patients get the best value and avoid egregious financial distress.Read More
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, necessity has bred an interesting kind of financial invention for the New York MTA: the world’s first “catastrophe” bond - a reinsurance for the insurer - designed to protect public transportation infrastructure, specifically against storm surge. These bonds privatize risk for public gain, creating a kind of tool that may protect economic development against all kinds of natural and man-made disasters around the world.Read More
A cholera epidemic can kill many people or few people—it all depends on the expertise of the doctors and their access to the right equipment. A program in Dhaka rushes both to countries when an epidemic is just breaking out.Read More
For most well-meaning donors, it can be difficult to calculate which charities are most effective with their funding - that is those that aim to solve the most serious problems, use interventions that work, employ cost-effective strategies, are competent and honest, and can make good use of each additional dollar. Organizations like GiveWell are part of a new and welcome trend toward rigorous evaluation of social change programs, and helps people best decide where to donate based on what causes matter to them most.Read More
In a country of limited resources — and perhaps for that very reason — preparing for natural disasters is top of the agenda in Bangladesh. Various grassroots, collaborative programs have been put in place over the years to help address many facets of the calamities caused by cyclones, from improved emergency shelters to long-term support for those who lose their livelihoods in the storms.Read More
Neighborhood Trust is a New York-based nonprofit offering financial advice to individuals experiencing economic hardships. Providing hands-on coaching, counselors are able to inform their clients about financial options they may have otherwise not known about like college financial aid or child care tax credits.Read More
Summer in the Northwest presents a great risk of wildfires. A pile burning operation, just one facet of the strategy that Oregon has enacted to conserve its forests, clears undergrowth to lessen the risk of mega-fire. The work stimulates the local economy and provides employment, but it's also a very small part of what needs to be done.Read More
After the drought hit Australia in the early 2000s, city officials had to start thinking seriously about ways to conserve and creatively store their water. External tanks became the solution, storing rain runoff to create an available source of water for Melbourne residents. This solution may not fit every location, but there are other teachable lessons such as taking radically shorter showers.Read More
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