“Ultimately, cost-effectiveness is just driven by the recognition that there’s only so much money, and we can’t solve all the problems of the world,” said Karlan. “With scarce resources, how can we make the biggest bang for our buck?”
When it comes to successfully implementing income-generating activities, “psycho-social health is the primary outcome,” he said. “Money is a means to an end, but we should focus on happiness, and psycho-social health is strikingly moveable.”
Following Karlan’s lecture, Associate Professor Andy Zeitlin moderated a period of Q&A with audience members, including more than 80 Georgetown students, faculty and staff.
When asked how to balance multiple desired outcomes effectively, Karlan advised “focusing on the outcome that’s driving the policy” and “asking people for their preference for outcomes rather than programs.”