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Poverty, Social Protection, and Humanitarian Aid

Development Analytics carries out research and evaluation projects at the intersection of poverty, social protection, humanitarian aid. We have successfully completed multiple comprehensive single and multi-country studies examining poverty, social protection, and humanitarian aid from various angles for multilateral organizations, UN agencies, and INGOs. 


Our work on poverty and social protection has focused on the measurement of poverty and impact of poverty alleviation programmes.


Development Analytics has specialised expertise in assessing targeting effectiveness of humanitarian aid programmes.



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Developing a Shock Responsive Social Protection Model for Children in Türkiye in the Aftermath of the Earthquakes using the Interactive Social Policy Simulator (ISPS)

Poverty, Earthquake Response

March 2023 - April 2023

On February 6, 2023, Türkiye was struck by two devastating earthquakes, affecting 11 provinces and a population of 14 million people, including 1.7 million Syrian refugees. As a response to the recent major earthquakes, UNICEF Türkiye plans to design and implement a cash transfer program with a budget of at least $40 million as part of the United Nations Flash Appeal and UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children Appeal. In this capacity, this study aims to generate potential impact and cost scenarios for different cash transfer options to inform programmatic options in response to the earthquake and broader poverty reduction approaches. The study's initial outputs were used to develop a business case that demonstrates the added value and models of cash transfer programs in the short term and will assist technical preparations and advocacy of UNICEF vis-a-vis the government, donors, and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in the medium term. In the scope of the study, using the Survey of Income and Living Conditions 2019, a microsimulation model is built. Using the model, the potential impact of the earthquakes on household poverty and child poverty and the poverty-alleviating impact of cash transfers are estimated. An interactive social policy simulator (ISPS) is also designed to allow UNICEF to see the results of cash transfer scenarios interactively by choosing from various targeting and transfer level options. 

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Multidimensional Child Poverty Measurement in Nigeria


October 2022 - Ongoing

Child poverty is a significant issue in Nigeria as a considerable share of the children are living in monetary poverty or multi-dimensional poverty in the country. This study will aim to measure and analyse multidimensional child poverty in Nigeria using UNICEF’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) methodology and will strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian stakeholders to carry out this type of analysis. The analysis will be carried out using the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2016-2017 and the most recent MICS, which is for the year 2021. The study will focus on understanding the dimensions and indicators that the children are deprived in Nigeria and identifying the proportion of children who are in multidimensional poverty and their profiles in terms of geographical, household, and individual characteristics. The study will further highlight the changes in the share of children deprived in each dimension and indicator and multidimensional child poverty in the last five years (between 2016 and 2021). 


Evaluative Learning Study for Phase III of the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) Assistance for Refugees in Turkey
Refugees, Poverty, Cash Transfers

September 2021 - August 2022

The overall goal of this study is to generate an evidence base on refugees’ income sources and the ESSN’s effect on socioeconomic vulnerability as well as people’s capacity to cope. Furthermore, this study will also provide capacity support and strengthening expertise in quantitative and qualitative methodologies and improving metrics for IFRC.In this capacity, this study will rely on i) conducting a desk review, ii) carrying out quantitative data analysis using several existing micro level datasets to understand refugees’ main income sources, socioeconomic vulnerability, and coping strategies pre-COVID and during COVID, iii) carrying out qualitative data analysis using existing data from FGDs that have been conducted by IFRC and TRC to understand the changes in refugees’ income sources pre-COVID and during COVID and to provide in-depth insights into their vulnerability and coping strategies during COVID-19, iv) conducting capacity building workshops to strengthen knowledge and expertise regarding qualitative and quantitative research methods and tools, and to provide useful metrics for the ESSN III programme to track income more reliably in Turkey.

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Targeting Analysis Service for the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) Assistance for Refugees in Turkey

Targeting, Poverty

September 2021 - August 2022

This work aims to provide technical expertise and guidance on the humanitarian analysis of the needs, capacities, and vulnerabilities of the ESSN programme applicants, and to process this information to identify potential adaptations to the programme design around the targeting approach/criteria.  The consultancy service is expected to provide contextualised analysis, fostering the use of available data by translating it in a way that easily informs decision-making by combining statistical knowledge with an in-depth understanding of humanitarian programming and design. Ultimately, it is expected to link the contextualised analysis with wider humanitarian practices and perspectives from other contexts.

The analysis will focus on leveraging internal monitoring and learning on the programme by utilising relevant programmatic datasets from the ESSN – including post-distribution monitoring, and the Intersectoral Vulnerability Framework and Survey for Refugees in Turkey – along with reviewing options for targeting adaptations to the existing demographic and household criteria serving as proxies for vulnerability. This could include adaptations to the existing targeting approach, criteria, type/amount of payments, among other factors while taking into consideration the existing needs, vulnerabilities, capacities of people as well as financial parameters and wider strategic considerations.  

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Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) for Azerbaijan


August 2021 - February 2023

Development Analytics will be supporting UNICEF Azerbaijan country office in piloting MODA and preparing a comprehensive multidimensional poverty report. In this role, we will be supporting the State Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Republic of Azerbaijan to pilot Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) by using existing data from the household surveys of the SSC and adding missing modules to the standard household questionnaires. The main purpose of the study is to improve the quality of child poverty estimation in the country, to support national efforts, policies, programmes to further improve children’s welfare in the country, and support the SDG monitoring and reporting process.

Specific objectives include:

  • to support the SSC to identify the dimensions and indicators of the MODA;

  • to guide the relevant staff of the SSC on concepts, definitions, and methodology of carrying out multidimensional child poverty analysis, including MODA;

  • to work with the relevant SSC staff to develop the analysis plan, including the selection of variables from Household Budget Survey (HBS) that should be used in the analysis and identify missing variables that should be included in the coming rounds of the HBS;

  • draft the report structure and writing of multidimensional child poverty sections;

  • provide all guidance and supporting documents to the SSC to develop national capacities to analyse and measure multidimensional poverty, with a specific focus on child poverty.


Exploring the Use of Digital ID and Big Data for the Financial Inclusion of Refugees in Istanbul

Refugees, Financial Inclusion, Digital Identification

July 2020 - July 2022

The financial inclusion of Syrian refugees is one of the vital issues of the Turkish economy. Both as employees and entrepreneurs, Syrian refugees, have been contributing to the economy; however, they face various challenges in their daily lives vis-a-vis authorities and financial institutions.  In response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ("EBRD") has developed a Refugee Crisis Response Programme. This study is designed under this Programme, and the overall objective of the study is to support the EBRD's efforts in improving the financial inclusion of refugee entrepreneurs in Turkey. Better access to financing opportunities is likely to help Syrian enterprises grow their business and thus, accelerate the Turkish economy's growth and increase export potential.

​The study aims to shed light on the current situation about the financial inclusion of refugee entrepreneurs, determine how Digital Identification Technologies might play a role in refugees' access to finance, and identify global approaches and best practices regarding refugees' access to finance. The study will also provide the design of a pilot project with potential partners to employ these tech-based solutions to support refugee entrepreneurs.

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Annual Update of the Targeting System for Multipurpose Cash and Food Assistance in Lebanon

Poverty, Cash Transfers, Targeting, Refugees, Proxy Means Testing

April 2018 - Ongoing


Since 2018, the Development Analytics team has developed, calibrated, and assessed the accuracy of the proxy-means targeting model for the annual unconditional cash assistance programs to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. This study takes a mixed-methods approach the developing the targeting system. On the quantitative side, the study relies on recently developed econometric tools that use a combination of survey and administrative data and out-of-sample testing methods to target the vulnerable population in an environment with imperfect information on the vulnerability. The qualitative work harnesses extensive interaction with field staff and refugees to identify the core challenges with the systematic quantitative approach to help develop a grievance redress mechanism for implementing agencies.

Download the Paper: "Targeting humanitarian aid using administrative data: Model design and validation"


Strategic Mid-term Evaluation of The Facility for Refugees in Turkey

Refugees, Evaluation

March 2019 - June 2021

The Facility for Refugees in Turkey (the Facility) is a EUR 6 billion mechanism designed to share Turkey’s burden of hosting close to four million refugees. Organised in two tranches, it coordinates the EU refugee response, focusing on humanitarian assistance and protection, education, health, socio-economic support, and migration management. The evaluation’s scope includes all actions funded and instruments mobilised under Facility Tranche I (EUR 3 billion) between 2015/16 and 2020. The purpose of the evaluation is: (i) To provide an overall assessment of the performance of the Facility to date, focusing on intermediate results measured against its objectives, (ii) To provide lessons learned and actionable recommendations to improve current and future actions and strategy. The Facility includes portfolios of humanitarian and non-humanitarian interventions across four sectors – education; health; socio-economic support; and protection, which the evaluation covers in a series of standalone sector reports. This evaluation was implemented by Landell Mills Ltd. with support from Development Analytics responsible for organizing and executing the fieldwork (accompanied by international experts) in Turkey and providing local expertise through its national experts for this study. Development Analytics also provided quantitative and qualitative data analysis for the sector reports and provided writing support in the preparation of the sector reports, co-leading the sector report for socioeconomic support. 

📖 Download the Executive Summary

📖 Download the Main Report 

📖 Download Sector Report (Education)

📖 Download Sector Report (Health)

📖 Download Sector Report (Socio-Economic Support)

📖 Download Sector Report (Protection)

📖 Download Annexes


Microsimulation Model for Estimating the Impact of COVID-19 on Child Poverty in St Lucia

Poverty, Multi-dimensional Poverty, Impact of COVID-19, Microsimulations, Cash Transfers

May 2020 - February 2021


Poverty is already high in St Lucia with 25.0 percent of the population living under the national poverty line.  Along with the rest of the world, St Lucia is currently dealing with the socio-economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to provide estimates on the impact of COVID-19 on monetary and multidimensional poverty in Saint Lucia, through various channels including the labour market, health and education. After identifying household-level shocks and re-estimating poverty figures based on this model, the distribution of cash transfers to various target groups are modelled, and their ‘alleviating’ impact on poverty rates are estimated along with total cost and cost-effectiveness of each scenario.

The study estimates that monetary poverty and inequality increase across the country after the shocks and the pandemic poses considerable non-monetary threats to people’s lives, which go beyond short-medium run harm. Cash transfers are found to be helpful in alleviating poverty but the transfer levels should be at a considerable level to achieve a meaningful impact.

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Assessment of the Socio-Economic Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Children and Families in Turkey

Poverty, Impact of COVID-19, Microsimulations, Cash Transfers

June 2020 - November 2020


COVID-19 pandemic, apart from the health-related challenges, has a serious socio-economic impact on households. This study provides estimations of the possible impact of the current crisis on both household and child poverty in Turkey through the labour market channel. The model aims to predict the possible impact of COVID-19 on household labour income and hence household expenditure that will decrease as a result of loss of jobs or reduced labour income. The model assumes that some types of jobs/sectors may be more vulnerable than others to this shock. After estimating the impact of the shock on household income and expenditures, the same model is used to estimate the possible impact of cash transfers to various target groups to alleviate this negative income effect. The impact of cash transfers on outcomes such as overall poverty, child poverty and inequality are estimated along with the total cost and cost-effectiveness of each scenario. We simulate 7 different cash transfer scenarios in two different transfer levels (low and high). The transfer can be per household or per child and the targeted groups change from being universal to targeting by household expenditure level. The microsimulation makes use of Household Budget Survey 2018 (collected by TURKSTAT) as the main data source.

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Estimating the Impact of COVID-19 on Child Poverty in Georgia using a Micro-Simulation Model

Poverty, Impact of COVID-19, Microsimulations, Cash Transfers

May 2020 - September 2020


Georgia is forecasted to experience a significant recession because of the pandemic and given high rates of vulnerability to poverty in the country; this could have a substantial impact on overall poverty and child poverty rates. This study aims to provide estimates of the effects of COVID-19 on household and child poverty in Georgia, through its impact on the labour market. The study, apart from estimating the poverty impact of the COVID crisis, also estimates the poverty-reducing impact of several cash transfer scenarios targeting different groups in the population and at varying benefit levels. Cash transfer scenarios range from being per household to being per child and the targeted groups change from being universal to targeting a subgroup of the population. Coverage, benefit incidence, total cost and cost-effectiveness of each scenario are also estimated along with several other indicators. One of the outputs of the study is an interactive simulation model that will enable policymakers to look at the poverty impact and cost of varying levels of the cash benefit under different scenarios. 

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Interactive Simulation Tool


ESSN Mid-Term Review 2018/2019


October 2019 - February 2020


Turkey currently hosts more refugees than any other country in the world. There are 4 million registered refugees in Turkey, of whom 3.6 million are Syrian refugees. The ESSN launched in December 2016 with the objective of stabilising or improving living standards of the most vulnerable out-of-camp refugee households. The ESSN was designed in conjunction with the Government of Turkey and is implemented through a partnership between WFP, TK, the Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Services (MoFLSS) and Halkbank.

The World Food Programme (WFP) Turkey Country Office on behalf of the ESSN stakeholders commissioned this mid-term review of the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), funded by the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). The first phase of the ESSN (ESSN 1) ran from September 2016, with roll-out starting in early 2017; while ESSN 2 commenced in January 2018 and will run until March 2020. This review covers the period from May 2018 to November 2019. In collaboration with Oxford Policy Management (OPM), Development Analytics was involved in organising fieldwork, carrying out focus group discussions and key informant interviews, and conducting quantitative and qualitative data analysis for the study.

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Reform of Unconditional Cash Transfer Programme (Ajutor Social) of Moldova: Simulation and Costing of Options to Improve Coverage for Vulnerable Households


October 2018 - September 2019


This study considers potential reforms to Ajutor Social (AS), Moldova’s national targeted cash transfer programme in place since 2008 which presently covers around 7 percent of the population.  The research aims to help the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Social Protection (MHLSP) be better equipped to consider how to reform AS to improve coverage for single parents, large families, and households with members who have a disability. Together, these three types of households compose a group of ‘priority households’ for the analysis of how AS can be reformed to increase coverage across them.

Overseas Development Institute partnered with Development Analytics to address two fundamental questions on behalf of UNICEF and MHLSP:

  • How can Ajutor Social be Reformed to Improve Coverage of and Outcomes for A Priority Group of Vulnerable Households?”

  • How can the costs of reform of Ajutor Social be estimated and what ‘costing model’ can be produced to demonstrate these?’

​The research uses the micro-data from the Moldovan Household Budget Survey (MHBS) for 2017, the last year of that survey that contained a special module on claiming and receiving AS.  The data from MHBS 2017 was used to construct a micro-simulation model that replicated the rules for entitlement and award of AS and allowed simulations of alternative rules of entitlement based on policy reform scenarios.​​

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Thematic Studies on the Extension of the CCTE Programme to Refugees in Turkey

Refugees, Cash Transfers, Education

May 2018 - February 2019


As of 2018, over 3.8 million Syrians were under temporary protection of whom 1.8 million of them are children. The magnitude of the problem and a high number of Syrians in the country required establishing various social protection programmes. The Government of Turkey along with UNICEF and other partners have put a significant amount of effort as a response to this crisis. One of these actions is the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE). This CCTE programme has cash and a protection component where families receive financial support for every child attending school. This study analysed the key aspects related to the access and effects of the programme for working children, including seasonal agricultural labour, ii) boys and girls, iii) children of different age groups (1-4th grade, 5-8th grade, 9-12th grade). The aim of the study was to understand the supply and demand-side bottlenecks that hinder these children’s access to CCTE programme and payments as well as Child Protection visits. To this end, 23 FGDs with children and their parents were conducted in three provinces, Istanbul, Gaziantep, and Adana in addition to 14 key informant interviews with programme implementers and MONE staff in these provinces. 

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Myanmar Dry Zone Social Protection Project Endline Assessment


May 2018 - December 2018


”Dry Zone Social Protection Project” is implemented by HelpAge International in collaboration with the Mandalay YMCA to help vulnerable households in the Dry Zone to cope and manage risks. This three-year project aims to expand social protection by enhancing informal community-based mechanisms and practices; strengthening government and community capacity to protect the poor; and delivering cash benefits to vulnerable groups (people with disabilities and older people). The project ends in December 2018. The locations of the project are a total of 180 villages with 30 villages in each of six target townships of two regions of Myanmar. At the beginning of the project, two different baseline surveys were collected and end-line surveys will be collected to measure the change in vulnerability and social protection over the course of the project and also measure the impact of the cash transfers. In collaboration with ODI, Development Analytics assists with the end line assessment's study design, conducting data analysis, and reporting on the findings. 

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Child Deprivation Analysis for Azerbaijan


April 2018 - October 2018


This project focuses on analysing Child Deprivation Surveys from 2015 and 2017 collected by the State Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Republic of Azerbaijan, to measure household and child deprivation and risk of poverty, and provide a comprehensive analysis of the patterns and trends across both surveys. Additionally, currently used methodological approaches and tools (sampling, questionnaires, calculation, etc.) to estimate the relevance of the methodology of measuring child deprivation/poverty in the country will be assessed.

The study aims to provide recommendations on the improvement of data collection and measurement strategy of child deprivation and poverty to be able to respond to national priorities and SDG monitoring and reporting needs. Practical recommendations on the improvement of policies and programs for children will also be presented. The study will be helpful in providing insights on what constitutes good economic and social policy for children and in justifying the importance of the process of developing child-centred budgets and policies.


Decentralised Evaluation of the ECHO funded Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) in Turkey

Cash Transfers, Refugees

May 2017 - April 2018


Turkey has the largest refugee population of any country in the world with 2.8 million Syrian refugees currently residing in Turkey. The Emergency Social Safety Net Programme (ESSN) will provide at least 1 million refugees with an unconditional and unrestricted cash transfer of 100 TL per month making it the largest ever EU-supported humanitarian cash transfer programme. The programme is available to all foreigners with refugee status who live off-camp and are under temporary protection or international protection. The programme is funded by the European Commission through European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and is implemented through the Turkish government social welfare system by means of an ATM cash card. The WFP is a key stakeholder in the project and worked closely with ECHO to design and implement the programme. The interim evaluation assesses the first year of the programme’s implementation and is aimed to be used to inform decision-making in the second year. In collaboration with Oxford Policy Management, Development Analytics was involved in organising fieldwork, carrying out focus group discussions and key informant interviews, and conducting qualitative data analysis.

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Indonesia - Stock-take of Capacity Development for Local Service Delivery

Capacity building, Poverty

June 2016 - May 2017


The overall objective of this project is to assist the World Bank Indonesia Decentralisation program to improve the quality of support for district-level capacity development. As Indonesia transitions from a lower-middle-income country to an upper-middle-income country and beyond, the challenge of improving service delivery has become more complex. The World Bank is providing advisory services and analytics to support the government to put in place new performance, accountability, and capacity development systems as part of these reforms.  The stocktake is expected to contribute both conceptual thinkings as well as an evidence base that can enable the effective programming of decentralization support as well as providing broader guidance/ learning for WB colleagues working in related fields.   In this way, it is envisioned that the stocktake will contribute to a revision and update their “theory of change” to include district (and village) driven change processes as an integral part of creating the conditions for service delivery improvement.

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Benefit Incidence of Fuel Subsidies in Madagascar and Recommendations for Child-Friendly Reallocation


July 2015 - November 2015


Fuel subsidies lead to environmental damage through inefficiencies in energy use, they are a burden for the public budget and moreover, they are regressive, benefiting the already better-off households. Despite, these negative qualities, energy subsidies are still implemented throughout the World. Post-tax energy subsidies in the World are estimated to be 5.3 trillion USD while fuel subsidies alone, are estimated to be 1.5 trillion USD, making up 1.8 percent of the global GDP in 2015. Although fuel subsidies are regressive, fuel subsidy reforms impact the poor the hardest. Previous experience with fuel subsidy reforms around the World shows that poverty increases as a result of fuel subsidy removal if it is not mitigated with redistribution efforts like cash transfers. In this study, using ENSOMD 2012 data set, we show that in Madagascar, fuel subsidies are highly regressive. Gasoline and diesel consumption is very rare in the households in the bottom 60 percent while kerosene is commonly consumed by households from all income groups. We find that poor households are affected the least if kerosene price remains unchanged. Nevertheless, different price increase scenarios including a change in the price of kerosene do not increase poverty by more than 1 percentage point. Instead reallocating the gains from the fuel subsidy reform to children aged 0-4 or 0-14 uniformly is found to decrease poverty rates between 2.4 to 4.6 percentage points.In Madagascar, the government decided to eliminate fuel subsidies gradually in June 2014. Yet, the price control mechanism has not been dropped yet. Given the sharp fall in international oil prices in the last year, a window of opportunity has opened for Madagascar and countries alike to adopt a liberalized pricing system and abolish fuel subsidies.

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Case Study on the Integrated Social Assistance MIS System in Turkey

Poverty and Social Assistance

April 2015 - June 2015


Turkey’s Integrated Social Assistance Information System (ISAS-BUTUNLESIK) serves an important integrative function. Launched in 2009, ISAS enables the centralized collection of applications from poor and vulnerable households from each of the country’s Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundations and integrates them into a Single Registry. The ISAS links applicant data to other databases in 16 institutions, connecting 56 databases and uses the information to help determine eligibility for all SA programs. In 2013, 8 million households and 30 million people were enrolled in the Single Registry. This country case study note is prepared for the World Bank and the General Directorate of Social Assistance under the Ministry of Family and Social Policy of the Republic of Turkey.  The case study presents the evolution of the integrated social assistance targeting system and includes: (i) an overview of the national policies, programmes, and the agencies in social protection; (ii) MIS scope and functions (including collaboration across government agencies); (iii) the strategy and history of the implementation of ICT programmes; (iv) data management and consolidation; (vi) security and privacy issues, (vii) the composition and organization of the IT unit within the SP agency and MIS maintenance issues; and (viii) upcoming reform plans and lessons learned. 

Hüsnü M. Özyeğin Foundation - Hüsnü M. Ö

Impact Evaluation of the Hüsnü M. Özyeğin Rural Development Program in Eastern Turkey

Rural Development, Impact Evaluation, Aid Effectiveness

December 2008 - March 2014


Experimental impact evaluation study and household survey instrument covering modules on agricultural activities, migration, household assets, income, and consumption, time use, social networks, access to education and health services, and women’s empowerment. Sample size: 6 treatment and 6 control villages 326 households in the baseline (Dec 2008) and 389 households in panel (Dec 2010) surveyed. Third survey round in treatment and control villages scheduled for December 2013. Fieldwork funded by the Hüsnü M. Özyeğin Foundation. Design of the impact evaluation study, the design of the survey instrument, training of enumerators in the field, training of data entry staff, econometric analysis, and write-up of baseline and panel findings. 


Socioeconomic Impact of Mining on Local Communities in Africa

Welfare and Poverty Measurement, Africa

March 2014 - June 2014


The analysis focused on the “Socioeconomic Impact of Mining on Local Communities in Africa” and provided econometric analysis for 2 case countries: Tanzania and Mali. Our research question is whether local communities benefit from mining activity. More specifically, we look at the impact of the extractive activity on households’ welfare and children’s nutrition and education indicators. We utilize a rich dataset where data are coming from various sources such as Demographic Health Surveys (DHS), Household Budget Surveys (HBS), and Censuses of Population of the two countries. We also use the information on the location, opening date, and actual production of mines in Tanzania and Mali. According to the data provided by the World Bank on the operation of mines in these two countries, the first mine started operating in Tanzania in 1998 and in Mali in 1997. The study will follow a diffs-in-diffs methodology looking at outcome variables before the setting up of the mines and about a decade after the mines have been in existence. In order to have a good understanding of the impact of gold extraction on the outcomes different specification methods are going to be employed throughout the analysis regarding the choice of treatment units, the treatment variable, and control units. 

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📖 Download the Full Report 

St Lucia
UNCEF Georgia
WB Africa Mali and Tanzania


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How to Assess the Child Poverty and Distributional Impact of COVID-19 Using Household Budget Surveys: An Application Using Turkish Data

Meltem A. Aran, Nazli Aktakke, Zehra Sena Kibar, Emre Üçkardeşler 

August 2021

This study presents a methodology to predict the child poverty impact of COVID-19 that can be readily applied in other country contexts where similar household data are available—and illustrates this case using data from Turkey. Using Household Budget Survey 2018, the microsimulation model estimates the impact of labour income loss on household expenditures, considering that some types of jobs/sectors may be more vulnerable than others to the COVID-19 shock. Labour income loss is estimated to lead to reductions in monthly household expenditure using an income elasticity model, and expenditure-based child poverty is found to increase in Turkey by 4.9–9.3 percentage points (depending on shock severity) from a base level of 15.4%. Among the hypothetical cash transfer scenarios considered, the universal child grant for 0–17 years old children was found to have the highest child poverty reduction impact overall, while schemes targeting the bottom 20–30% of households are more cost-effective in terms of poverty reduction. The microsimulation model set out in this paper can be readily replicated in countries where similar Household Budget Surveys are available.

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Can Regulations Make It More Difficult to Serve the Poor? The Case of Childcare Services in Istanbul, Turkey

Meltem A. Aran, Ana Maria Munoz Boudet, Nazli Aktakke

November 2016


This paper considers the impact of regulations on private childcare capacity in the context of Turkey's highly regulated childcare market. Using data from a recently fielded survey that sampled 141 private ECEC facilities in Istanbul, Turkey, the paper looks at the impact of fixed regulations on prices and poor children’s access to services. The paper, in particular looks at the outdoor space requirement that was originally imposed on private providers in the 1960s and has over time become more difficult to fulfill in densely populated districts of the city. The paper estimates that controlling for other provider characteristics, in districts where such requirement is more binding, the price of childcare services increases by 376.2 TL per child per month and the percentage of children enrolled coming from "poor" backgrounds is lower by 15.1% points than in districts where this standard proves less challenging.   

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Socioeconomic Impact of Mining Activity

Socioeconomic Impact of Mining Activity: Effects of Gold Mining on Local Communities in Tanzania and Mali

Beyza Polat, Nazlı Aktakke, Meltem A. Aran, Andrew Dabalen, Punam Chuhan-Pole, Aly Sanoh

October 2014


The effect of extractive activity on economic growth and development is a long-debated issue in the economics literature. While most of the existing literature focuses on the macroeconomic impacts of natural resource abundance, there is a rather limited but growing strand of literature that studies the local economy impact of extractive activity using microdata. This paper aims to contribute to this literature by providing new evidence on the effects of gold mining in two resource-rich African countries: Tanzania and Mali. We utilize a rich data set collected from various sources and apply a differences-in-differences estimation strategy to see whether individuals/households geographically close to mines are affected differently from the opening of mines. We look at a number of outcome variables including various measures of children’s health indicators, households’ access to facilities, and women's and men’s employment status. The first part of the analysis is at the household/individual level where the data is kept and treatment is defined at. As a second attempt, we aggregate the data up to the district level by using the appropriate poverty mapping techniques and apply Abadie et al. (2010)’s Synthetic Control Group method to study whether mining districts behave differently from non-mining districts after mines start operation. We reach different conclusions for the two case countries. In the case of Tanzania, we show that households in the immediate mining catchment area are negatively affected by extractive activity whereas this effect becomes positive when we consider households that are located in neighbouring and further away catchment areas. In the case of Mali, any significant positive impact of mining activity is on those households that are located closer to the mines. Those households, who are still in the catchment area but further away from the mine, are either not affected or negatively affected by mining activity.

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Turkey on the Way of Universal Health Co

Turkey on the Way of Universal Health Coverage Through the Health Transformation Program (2003-13)

Meltem A. Aran, Claudia Rokx

September 2014

Beginning in 2003, Turkey initiated a series of reforms under the Health Transformation Program (HTP) that over the past decade have led to the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC). The progress of Turkey’s health system has few — if any — parallels in scope and speed. Before the reforms, Turkey’s aggregate health indicators lagged behind those of OECD member states and other middle-income countries. The health financing system was fragmented, with four separate insurance schemes and a “Green Card” program for the poor, each with distinct benefits packages and access rules. Both the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and Ministry of Health (MoH) were providers and financiers of the health system, and four different ministries were directly involved in public health care delivery. Turkey’s reform efforts have impacted virtually all aspects of the country’s health system and have resulted in the rapid expansion of the proportion of the population covered and of the services to which they are entitled. At the same time, financial protection has improved. For example, (i) insurance coverage increased from 64 to 98 percent between 2002 and 2012; (ii) the share of pregnant women having four antenatal care visits increased from 54 to 82 percent between 2003 and 2010, and (iii) citizen satisfaction with health services increased from 39.5 to 75.9 percent between 2003 and 2011. Despite dramatic improvements, there is still space for Turkey to continue to improve its citizens’ health outcomes, and challenges lie ahead for improving services beyond primary care. The main criticism of reform has so far come from health sector workers; the future sustainability of reform will rely not only on continued fiscal support to the health sector but also on the maintenance of service provider satisfaction.

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Welfare Impact of the Global Economic Cr

Welfare Impact of the Global Economic Crisis of 2008-2009 on Turkish Households: Evidence from a Specialized Monitoring Survey in 7 Provinces

Meltem A. Aran

February 2013


This paper looks at how the macro shock from the 2008 financial crisis has translated into income and welfare shocks in the form of reduced earnings and consumption at the household level in Turkey. Using a specialized household level Welfare Monitoring Survey implemented in May-June 2009 in 7 provinces of Turkey, the paper estimates the impact of the macro-shock on food, education, and health-related expenditures. The paper first establishes a link between the macro-level shock in the financial sector in the province and the changes in earnings at the household level and then using an instrumental variables strategy, establishes the link between the earnings shock and changes in consumption. The main findings in the paper are that the informally employed workers and those with lower levels of education (lower than university level) were more likely to be hurt by the Crisis in the provinces where the survey was collected. Food expenditures acted as the main adjustment mechanism in the face of the income shock, while education and health expenditures remained relatively stable. The probability of reducing food consumption (and the amount of food provided to children) was highest among the poor that initially had low levels of household assets.

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A Methodology Note on the Employment and

A Methodology Note on the Employment and Welfare Impacts of the 2007-08 Financial Crisis

Mohamed Ihsan Ajwad, Meltem A. Aran, Mehtabul Azam, Jesko Hentschel

June 2013


The welfare impacts of economic downturns generally have to be estimated using simulation tools because of delays in conducting detailed household surveys. This note documents a methodology with which social impacts of an economic slowdown, through its impact on the sources of household income, can be simulated using a simple partial equilibrium model. The simulated impacts are direct, short-run impacts, and do not take into account general equilibrium effects. The methodology has the advantage that it can be implemented in a relatively short time and the data requirements for the analysis are household surveys, which are now generally available in most countries around the world. The methodology was implemented by The World Bank in Turkey and Latvia in early 2009. The main purpose of the work was to help policymakers estimate the scale of the welfare impact on households. This type of information can be crucial to draw attention to the “human impact” of an economic slowdown, but also to help simulate the strength of safety nets needed to avert erosion in human capital. This note will focus on the Latvia and Turkey cases to illustrate the ease with which the model can be adapted to estimating the distributional impacts of economic shocks. Simulations show that both countries will experience a sharp rise in poverty, a widening poverty gap, and a rise in income inequality. With an 18 percent GDP contraction in 2009 and the above employment projections, poverty will increase from 14.4 percent to 20.2 percent of the population in Latvia. In Turkey, simulations indicate that estimated GDP contractions of 5 percent and 1 percent in 2009 and 2010 respectively, in the absence of policy changes, will increase poverty headcount from a predicted 17.4 percent (2008) to 21.7 percent.

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Inequality of Opportunity in Access to B

Inequality of Opportunity in Access to Basic Services Among Egyptian Children

Meltem A. Aran, Lire Ersado

July 2013


This paper estimates inequality of opportunities among Egyptian children over time between the years 2000 and 2008 using Egypt Demographic and Health Surveys. The Human Opportunity Index (HOI) is calculated across four categories of access to services, including health utilization, nutrition, basic infrastructure services, and school enrolment. Over these years, Egypt implemented several policies in the health and education sectors that improved the access of children to services through the nation-wide Family Health Model (FHM), as well as through a social marketing campaign to promote iodized salt. This paper finds improvements in the Human Opportunity Index linked to such policies, with HOI increasing from 38.8 to 67.7 for instance for the probability of blood sample being taken from mother during pregnancy, and from 37.6 to 63.4 for births taking place in public or private health facilities. Increases in overall coverage of health services were responsible for improvements in the HOI. However, in terms of malnutrition, indicators have deteriorated during this time period, with HOI for not being stunted decreasing from 78.2 to 74. The decomposition of the HOI finds that the probability of malnutrition among Egyptian children is not closely linked to family circumstances, contrary to what one might expect, calling for more supply-side (and less targeted) efforts to reduce malnutrition for all Egyptian children.

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Poverty and Inequality Changes in Turkey

Poverty and Inequality Changes in Turkey (2003-2006)

Meltem A. Aran, Sırma Demir, Özlem Sarıca, Hakan Yazici

March 2010


Poverty in Turkey has declined significantly between 2003 and 2006, as a result of rapid poverty reduction in urban areas. In the same time period, the reduction in poverty in rural areas has been slow or non-existent. As a result, the relative risk of poverty has increased in this time period for those employed in the agricultural sector, living in rural areas and in large households. Inequality in urban areas has decreased as a result of higher growth in the consumption levels of the urban poor compared to richer deciles, while no significant changes to inequality measures have been noted in rural areas. In fact, the consumption levels of the poorest groups in rural Turkey have declined between 2003 and 2006. Child poverty has also been persistent in this time period, with the relative risk of poverty for children (ages 0-19) increasing over time.

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Meltem Aran.jpg 2015-11-3-13:58:29
Meltem Aran, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Meltem is a human development economist with research focusing on poverty, inequality, and overall distributional impact of social policies. Since 2004, she has been involved in various research projects and impact evaluations relating to poverty and human development with the World Bank in East Asia, ECA, and MENA regions.

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Kristen Biehl, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Kristen is an anthropologist with a primary interest in studying migration, diversity, and urban change.  Since 2006 she has worked both professionally and academically in the field of immigration and asylum policy and practice in Turkey and has taken part in different research projects funded by the British Council,  the European Union, Husnu M. Ozyegin Foundation, and  UNICEF.  


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Aytuğ Şaşmaz
Aytuğ Şaşmaz, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Aytug is a political scientist working on political parties, social policy, and democratic decline, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa. His work also explores voters' responses to executive aggrandizement (focusing on Turkey) and social welfare in the context of ethnic and organizational diversity (focusing on Lebanon). He received his PhD in political science from Harvard University Government Department (July 2021). He holds degrees in political science from Bogazici University (BA), LSE (MSc), and Brown University (MA). Prior to his doctoral training, he worked as an education policy analyst at the Education Reform Initiative in Turkey, executing research and evaluation projects in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education, UNICEF, and World Bank. 

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Laetitia Lemaistre
Refugee and Education Specialist

Laetitia Lemaistre is an education specialist who focuses on refugee education, education in emergencies and conflict contexts, and humanitarian coordination. She is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Education at University College London and her research interests lie in urban refugee children’s access to formal education.

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Güneş Aşık, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Güneş is a development economist with research interests in growth, regional development, and female labour force participation trends. She works as an assistant professor at TOBB Economics and Technology University in Ankara and is teaching econometrics, statistics, and mathematics. Her current research is on the estimation of income per capita series and constructing development indicators for the 26 regions of Turkey since the late 19th century using historical sources.


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Gökçe Baykal, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Gökçe is a political scientist and her work focuses on the political and socio-economic impacts of poverty alleviation programs on poor people. Most recently she has been working on conditional cash transfers in Turkey and her work investigates whether transferring cash with conditions to the poor empower their social citizenship or produce/reproduce linkages, their obligations to reciprocate in terms of supporting the political party allocating them.

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Didem Pekkurnaz, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Didem is an applied microeconomist with primary interests in health and labour economics. She holds a BS degree in Statistics, an MS degree in Economics from Middle East Technical University and a doctoral degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Onur Altindag, Ph.D_
Onur Altindag, Ph.D.
Research Associate

​Onur Altindag is an assistant professor of Economics at Bentley University. His research interests lie primarily at the intersection of population and health economics. His early work focused on fertility preferences and their impact on maternal and infant health. In his dissertation.


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Gokce Uysal.Ph.D_
Gokce Uysal.Ph.D.
Research Associate

Gokce Uysal is currently an associate professor of economics at Bahcesehir University and the deputy director at Bahcesehir University Center for Economic and Social Research (Betam). She works on labour markets, economics of gender, economics of education, and household savings. Dr. Uysal holds a BA from Galatasaray University and a doctoral degree in Economics from University of Rochester.

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Safir Sümer
National Health Expert

Safir Sumer is an international development specialist with extensive experience in health systems. She is a national of Turkey, with over 20 years of human development experience. She consulted for the World Bank, WHO, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Development in Turkey, Merck Pharmaceuticals, and the EU Commission on health sector-related projects. Her health sector experience includes results-based financing, health systems, and policy analysis, strategic planning, universal health coverage, public health, health budget and financing, people-centred health care, and integrated care.

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Şenay Özd
Şenay Özden
Research Associate

Şenay is a cultural anthropologist and a researcher. Her research areas include international migration, refugees, Turkish state’s refugee policies, politics of humanitarian aid.

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Kimberly Colopinto
Urban Planner

Kim is an urban planner with experience conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis. She specializes in spatial analytics and the visualization of data. Kim has worked with public, private, and non-profit organizations to conduct economic impact studies, affordable housing needs analysis, and market analysis, and policy research.


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Zeynep Balcioglu
Zeynep Balcioglu
Research Associate

Zeynep is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University. She passed doctoral exams in the fields of comparative politics, public policy, and research design and methodology. She studies forced migration, social policy, and welfare provision mostly in the Middle East and Balkans. 


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Özgür Bozçağa
Özgür Bozçağa
Research Associate

Ozgur is a Ph.D. student in Economics and Public Policy program jointly offered by The Fletcher School and the Department of Economics at Tufts University.  He received his BA in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University and completed his MA in Politics at New York University. He also completed doctoral coursework in quantitative social science at Boston University. 

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Tuğba Bozçağa, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Dr. Tuğba Bozçağa is a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University's Middle East Initiative. Her research interests lie in political economy of development, with a substantive focus on local governance, social welfare, distributive politics, and migration. In her research, Bozçağa combines quasi-experimental statistical methods and novel data sources and tools such as geospatial analysis, automated web scraping, historical archives, and mobile call detail records. She is also a junior fellow at the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies (AALIMS). Bozçağa holds a Ph.D. degree in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BA degree in Economics from Boğaziçi University. 


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Laetitia Lemaistre
Refugee and Education Specialist

Laetitia Lemaistre is an education specialist who focuses on refugee education, education in emergencies and conflict contexts, and humanitarian coordination. She is a third-year doctoral candidate at the Institute of Education at University College London and her research interests lie in refugee children’s access to formal education in Greece, examining both urban and camp caseloads. 

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Nazlı Aktakke Quantitative Research Anal
Nazlı Aktakke
Senior Quantitative Research Analyst

Nazli is a senior quantitative researcher at Development Analytics with experience working on a wide range of topics including cash transfer programs, labour force participation of women, and health and education outcomes of children. 

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Hazal Colak
Hazal Colak
Data Scientist for Social Policy

Hazal is a data scientist for social policy at Development Analytics with research interests related to poverty and inequality, social assistance reforms, cash transfer programmes and targeting approaches, and child welfare. She has received her master’s degree in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford, focusing on comparative welfare system analysis and cross-national variations in major social policy areas.

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Yali Hajhassan
Arabic Speaking Qualitative Data Analyst

Yali works at Development Analytics as an Arabic-speaking qualitative data analyst ​on evaluation projects related to Syrian refugees in Turkey and the region. She holds a BA in Psychology from Cumhuriyet University and speaks Arabic, English, and Turkish fluently. 

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