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Request for Submissions to DevEng Journal: Special Issue on Cost Estimation

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Cost plays a dominant role in the design of products and services for marginalized populations. Affordability is a key design requirement for financially-constrained markets. Reducing costs is often the central focus of improvements in the design of innovations, and cost is a primary metric of comparison between competing innovations. Yet, despite its critical role, it is rare to find a sophisticated discussion of costs or cost evaluation strategies in published papers. Methodologies to create and analyze cost evidence vary widely across studies, and are often not transparently described. Uncertainty and sensitivity analyses are rarely performed. As a result, it is difficult to meaningfully compare cost estimates, or critically evaluate the cost evidence that supports many policy and technology recommendations.

The Journal Development Engineering is excited to announce a Special Issue (SI) to address this gap. The SI seeks to explore the use of cost estimation as a tool for resource-constrained design and the evaluation of products, services and innovations intended for marginalized populations–particularly in the areas of safe water, sanitation, energy, food, agriculture, education, and shelter (we note that healthcare costs were recently explored by other journals). Our aim is to elucidate best practices and identify trends, challenges, and opportunities.

We invite submissions that address these and related topics:

  • Critical reviews of economic evaluations in a particular context, such as water treatment.
  • Economic evaluations of specific products, services, or interventions, with critical discussion about the cost methodology.
  • Exploration of local implementation factors in cost evaluation, such as business model structure, behavior change, local labor, import taxes and fees, supply chain setup, transportation, maintenance/repair, financing, installation, and capacity building.
  • Presentation of key location-specific cost datasets (e.g., local labor costs, distribution costs, transportation costs, etc.).
  • Exploration of how and when to include externalities in economic evaluation.
  • Exploration of economic evaluation as a methodology in resource-constrained design (e.g., impact of assumptions, integration of fixed versus marginal cost, uncertainty analysis, best practices).
  • Exploration of gender-disaggregated costing in settings where there are gender-related barriers to reach or benefit a population.

 

Submissions will be accepted through July 1, 2021. Those received by Dec 31, 2020 will be eligible for full fee waivers from Elsevier. To submit a manuscript for review, please click here. If you have a question about the applicability of a given topic to the SI, please reach out to Susan Amrose (samrose@mit.edu).

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Development Engineering: The Journal of Engineering in Economic Development is an open-access, interdisciplinary journal applying engineering and economic research to the problems of poverty. Published studies must present novel research motivated by a specific global development problem. The journal, hosted by the USAID-funded Development Impact Lab (DIL) at UC Berkeley, serves as a bridge between engineers, economists, and other scientists involved in research on human, social, and economic development.

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