Infrastructure investments are consequential... and hard to evaluate
AidData's next-generation methods of geospatial analysis enable rigorous impact evaluation where randomized control trials are infeasible.
The world invests $2.5 trillion each year on transportation, power, water, and telecommunications infrastructure. But we'll need to invest an average of $3.3 trillion annually just to keep up with expected growth rates by 2030. What impacts, intended and unintended, do these large infrastructure investments have? The "gold standard" method of impact evaluation is a randomized control trial (RCT). Yet randomly assigning the placement of infrastructure projects is almost never feasible—or desirable.
Geospatial impact evaluation (GIE) methods provide a solution. Like RCTs, GIEs use treatment and control groups to identify the specific impacts that can be attributed of a particular infrastructure initiative. Unlike RCTs, GIEs use high-frequency, high-resolution satellite observations to measure changes over time in many locations, and they can be implemented remotely and retrospectively. This allows AidData to conduct rigorous impact evaluations at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional RCTs, providing timely insights about where infrastructure projects are likely to be more or less effective.