Better evidence for a better world

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Better evidence for a better world
Better evidence for a better world

Better evidence for a better world (169)

Additional Info

  • Authors Maia Lindstrøm, Pernille Skovbo Rasmussen, Krystyna Kowalski, Trine Filges, Anne-Marie Klint Jørgensen
  • Published date 2013-09-02
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2013.7

Additional Info

  • Authors Sarah Baird, Francisco H. G. Ferreira, Berk Ozler, Michael Woolcock
  • Published date 2013-09-02
  • Coordinating group(s) Education, International Development
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2013.8
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Enforcing conditions makes cash transfers more effective in increasing enrolments

    Cash transfers – conditional or not – improve school enrolment and attendance, but there is limited evidence of effects on learning outcomes. If conditions are monitored and enforced the effect on enrolment is greater.

    What is the review about?

    In many countries, primary school enrolment is still not universal. More than 20 per cent of children do not attend school in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and around of a third of those who do enrol drop out before completing sixth grade. Secondary school enrolments are far lower. In many countries, fewer than half of all children attend secondary school. And the quality of education is low, with many students having low literacy and maths skills after several years of schooling.

    Cash transfer programmes, targeted at poor families, have become a popular means of tackling low enrolment. Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) for schooling are provided to poor households provided that children of school age enrol and attend school. Unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) are provided without conditions.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review assesses the effects of conditional and unconditional cash transfer programmes on education outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. The review summarizes findings from 35 studies.

    What were the main findings of the review?

    What studies are included?

    Eligible studies evaluate either conditional or unconditional cash transfer programmes, the

    conditional programmes having at least one condition explicitly related to schooling. Reported outcomes must include at least one quantifiable measure of enrolment, attendance or test scores.

    Thirty-five studies are included in the review: five UCTs, 26 CCTs, and four studies that directly compare CCTs to UCTs.

    Do cash transfers improve education outcomes?

    Both conditional and unconditional cash transfer programmes increase enrolment compared to no program. But they have at best a small effect on learning outcomes, although the evidence base on learning is small.

    Do conditions matter?

    Cash transfers have a larger effect on enrolment if there are conditions that are strictly monitored and enforced. Programs that are explicitly conditional, monitor compliance and penalize non-compliance have substantively larger effects—increasing the odds of enrolment by 60% compared to less than 20% for programs with no conditions (see Figure).

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The search for this review was updated in April 2013, and the review published in September 2013.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Additional Info

  • Authors Anthony Petrosino, John Buehler, Carolyn Turpin-Petrosino
  • Published date 2013-05-02
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2013.5
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Scared straight programs result in more crime

    Scared straight awareness programs aim to deter crime and criminal behaviour by providing first-hand experience of prison life and interaction with adult inmate to juvenile delinquents or children at risk of becoming delinquent. Contrary to their purpose, scared straight programs fail to deter crime, leading to more offending behaviour not less.

    What did the review study?

    Scared straight programs involve organised visits to prison by juvenile delinquents or children at risk of committing crime, also called pre-delinquents.

    Scared straight and similar programs are promoted as a crime prevention strategy, identifying children at risk of committing crime to discourage them from any future criminal conduct. This review assesses the effect of these programs on criminal behaviours by juvenile delinquents or pre-delinquents.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review assesses the effect of scared straight and similar programs on criminal behaviours by juvenile delinquents or children at risk of committing crime. The review summarises findings from nine studies conducted in the USA. Participants include juveniles and young adults between the ages 14-20. A total of 946 juveniles or young adults participated in all nine experimental studies.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies tested the effects of any program involving the organized visits of juvenile delinquents or pre-delinquents to prisons with juveniles and young adults between the ages of 14-20 as participants. Only studies that had used a random or quasi-random experimental design with no-treatment control condition, and at least one outcome measure of “post-visit” criminal behaviour were considered.

    All studies were conducted in eight different states in the USA, with two of the studies taking place in the state of Michigan.

    A total of 9 studies were included in the systematic review. The nine studies were conducted in eight different states in the United States, with no set of researchers conducting more than one experiment.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Scared straight interventions cause more harm than doing nothing. The nine studies provided no evidence for the effectiveness of scared straight or similar programs on subsequent delinquency.

    Furthermore, analysis of seven studies reporting reoffending rates showed that the intervention significantly increased the odds of offending on the part of both the juveniles and pre-delinquents.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Scared straight and similar programs are likely to have a harmful effect and increase delinquency compared to doing nothing.

    Although three of the studies reported methodological problems, two of which had implications for statistical analysis, this did not significantly affect the overall findings. Thus scared straight interventions and similar programs cannot be recommended as a crime prevention strategy. However, should agencies continue to permit such programs, rigorous evaluations of them is recommended to ensure that at, the very least, they do not cause more harm than good.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published until December 2011. This Campbell Systematic Review was published in May 2013.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Additional Info

  • Authors Trine Filges, Lars Pico Geerdsen, Anne-Sofie Due Knudsen, Anne-Marie Klint Jorgensen, Krystyna Kowalski
  • Published date 2013-03-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2013.4
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Exhaustion of unemployment benefits leads to an increase in job-finding rates among the unemployed

    There is evidence that the exhaustion of unemployment benefits encourages unemployed individuals to find work.

    What did the review study?

    Since the 1970s unemployment rates in Europe and the USA have diverged, with unemployment persistently higher in the USA. The generosity of the benefits system is one possible factor behind this difference.

    Shortening the length of unemployment benefit eligibility period is a policy instrument intended to decrease unemployment. The policy is intended to encourage productive job searches and reduce the overall unemployment level.

    This review assesses the impact of exhaustion of employment benefits on the job-finding rate for unemployed individuals.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review assesses the impact of exhaustion of employment benefits on the job-finding rate for unemployed individuals. The review summarises findings from 47 studies. The majority of studies were conducted in Europe, with just two of the studies taking place in the USA and one in Canada. Participants were unemployed individuals receiving any form of time-limited benefit during their period of being unemployed.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies tested unemployed individuals’ exit rate out of unemployment and into employment prior to benefit exhaustion or shortly thereafter. The studies tested the exit rate from the re-employment job as a secondary outcome. Non-randomized studies as well as study designs that used a well-defined control group, i.e. unemployed persons whose benefit expiration was not immediate, were also included.

    Whilst 47 studies were identified, after allowing for study quality and data issues, only 12 studies are included in the meta-analysis. The countries represented in the meta-analysis include Canada, USA, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, and Poland.The participants were unemployed individuals who received some sort of time-limited benefit during their period of unemployment.

    What are the main results in this review?

    The exhaustion of unemployment benefits encourages unemployed individuals to find work. The exhaustion of benefits results in an increase of about 80% in the exit rate from unemployment to employment. The effect starts to occur approximately two months before benefits expire, increasing as the expiration date approaches. There was no significant effect observed prior to the two months before benefits expire.

    There was insufficient evidence to address the secondary outcome of whether the prospect of benefit exhaustion has an impact on the exit rate from the re-employment job, i.e. workers soon leave the new job and return to benefits. Thus, the evidence that exhaustion of unemployment benefits reduces overall unemployment level is inconclusive.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Exhaustion of unemployment benefits leads to an increase in job-finding rates among the unemployed but only shortly prior to exhaustion and at the time of exhaustion.

    The hypothesis that shortening the benefit eligibility period may increase productive job searches has been confirmed. However, only a small number of studies provide data for re-employment exit rates so additional research is needed to assess the overall effect on unemployment.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published until March 2011. This Campbell systematic review was published in March 2013.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Additional Info

  • Authors Hilary Thomson, Siân Thomas, Eva Sellström, Mark Petticrew
  • Published date 2013-03-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2013.2

Additional Info

  • Authors Cheryl Regehr, Ramona Alaggia, Catriona Shatford, Annabel Pitts, Michael Saini
  • Published date 2013-03-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2013.3

Additional Info

  • Authors Lorraine Mazerolle, Sarah Bennett, Jacqueline Davis, Elise Sargeant, Matthew Manning
  • Published date 2013-01-02
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2013.1
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Interventions to enhance police legitimacy increase public satisfaction with and confidence in the police, and reduce reoffending

    Effective policing requires voluntary public cooperation. Citizens are more likely to cooperate when they view the police as legitimate. This review assesses the direct and indirect benefits of interventions to enhance police legitimacy. These interventions increase public satisfaction with and confidence in the police and reduce reoffending.

    What did the review study?

    Police require voluntary cooperation from the general public to be effective in controlling crime and maintaining order. Research shows that citizens are more likely to comply and cooperate with police and obey the law when they view the police as legitimate.

    Procedural justice is the most common pathway used by the police to increase their legitimacy in the eyes of the general public. Procedural justice has four essential components: (1) citizen participation in the proceedings prior to an authority reaching a decision (or voice), (2) perceived neutrality of the authority in making the decision, (3) showing dignity and respect toward citizens throughout the interaction, and (4) the authority conveys trustworthy motives.

    This review assesses the direct and indirect benefits of public police interventions that use procedurally just dialogue.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review assesses the direct and indirect benefits of public police interventions that use procedurally just dialogue. The review summarises findings from 30 studies conducted in Australia, the United States and England. The participants were individuals (citizen, victim, offender etc.), groups (e.g. community) and third parties (e.g. religious advisors).

    What studies are included?

    Included studies were of police-led legitimacy interventions involving either a control condition or quasi-experimental interrupted time-series design. These studies had to to have measured an aggregate outcome such as crime rate, in equally spaced time intervals prior to and following the initiation of the police-led intervention.

    Included studies reported on at least one of the following direct or indirect outcomes: perceived legitimacy, procedural fairness, willingness to cooperate with police, compliance, satisfaction, social ties, confidence in police, reduction in reoffending, reduction in crime and reduction in social disorder.

    Thirty studies containing forty-one independent evaluations were included in the review. The studies focused on the way in which the police interact with individuals, groups and/or third parties. The studies were conducted in Australia, the USA and England.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Police-led interventions specifically aimed at increasing legitimacy have a significant impact on public satisfaction with and confidence in the police. Such interventions are also associated with significantly increased public compliance/cooperation, procedural justice (fairness, neutrality, etc.) and legitimacy (obligation to obey police/law). Interventions also had a minor effect on reoffending.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    The review provides consistent evidence that police-led legitimacy interventions have positive effects on citizens’ perceptions of police legitimacy.

    The findings show that the dialogue component of front-line police-led interventions is important for promoting citizen satisfaction, confidence, compliance and cooperation with the police, and for enhancing perceptions of procedural justice. In practical terms, this means that police can achieve positive changes in citizen attitudes to police through adopting procedurally justice dialogue as a component part of any type of police intervention.

    There is a small, but growing amount of randomized experiments in the international literature that isolate specific interventions and test different modes of delivery, e.g. reassurance policing. The effectiveness of the studies would benefit from future studies on legitimacy policing employing this study design.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published until April 2009. This Campbell Systematic Review was published in January 2013.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Additional Info

  • Authors Ojmarrh Mitchell, Doris MacKenzie, David Wilson
  • Published date 2012-11-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2012.18
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Incarceration-based drug treatment programs have modest effects on criminal behaviour

    Incarcerated offenders often have substance abuse problems. They are likely to continue their criminal behaviour post-release without effective treatment. Incarceration-based drug treatment programs are modestly effective in reducing recidivism and drug use. Effects vary by program design. Therapeutic communities are most effective. Boot camps are ineffective.

    What did the review study?

    Many, if not most, incarcerated criminals are drug-dependent. In the absence of effective substance abuse treatment, a high proportion of these drug-dependent criminals will return to crime once released.

    Incarceration-based drug treatment programs allow correctional facilities to use force to encourage abusers to engage in treatment – many of who otherwise would not do so – as well as limit the availability of drugs with sufficient time available to focus on treatment and introspection.

    This review examines the effectiveness of incarceration-based drug treatment programs in reducing post-release recidivism and drug use.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effectiveness incarceration-based drug treatment interventions in reducing post-release recidivism and drug use. The review summarise findings from 74 studies, sixty-five of which were conducted in the USA, four in Canada, three in Australia, one in Taiwan and one in the UK.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies assess incarceration-based drug treatment interventions for incarcerated participants with substance abuse problems using experimental or two-group quasi-experimental research designs that included a treatment and comparison group.

    The incarceration-based drug treatment programs fell into four distinct types: therapeutic communities (TCs), group counseling, boot camps specifically for drug offenders and narcotics maintenance programs.

    A total of 74 independent evaluations were included in the review. Sixty-five of the studies were conducted in the USA, four in Canada, three in Australia, one in Taiwan and one the UK. The studies compare the methodology, samples and programme features of each program type.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Incarceration-based drug treatment programs are modestly effective in reducing criminal behaviour and drug use. The overall average effect of these programs is approximately a 15 to 17% reduction in recidivism and drug relapse.

    Effects vary by program design. Therapeutic communities have relatively consistent but modest reductions in recidivism and drug relapse. Counselling programs reduce recidivism but not drug relapse, narcotic maintenance programs cause sizeable reductions in drug relapse but not recidivism, and boot camps have negligible effects on both recidivism and drug relapse.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    The main evidence presented in this review suggests that the effectiveness of treatment programs varies by the type of treatment. These findings most strongly support the effectiveness of therapeutic communities, as these programs produced relatively consistent reductions in recidivism and drug use. Boot camps have no effect on either outcome.

    These conclusions should be read with caution given the limited number of such evaluations and general methodological weakness.

    Therapeutic community programs were the only programs to consistently show modest reductions in recidivism and drug relapse however, there is evidence of publication bias that could have over-estimated its effectiveness. Given all these shortcomings, further evidence regarding the effectiveness of this type of intervention is needed.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published until November 2011. This Campbell systematic review was published in August 2012.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Additional Info

  • Authors Anthony Petrosino, Claire Morgan, Trevor Fronius, Emily Tanner-Smith, Robert Boruch
  • Published date 2012-11-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Education, International Development
  • Type of document Review
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2012.19

Additional Info

  • Authors Ulrik Gensby, Thomas Lund, Krystyna Kowalski, Madina Saidj, Anne-Marie Klint Jørgensen, Trine Filges, Emma Irvin, Benjamin C. Amick III, Merete Labriola
  • Published date 2012-11-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2012.17
  • Records available in English, Spanish
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