Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Challenges in impact evaluation of development interventions: opportunities and limitations for randomized experiments

Contents:

Author Info

  • Vaessen, Jos
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    In recent years debates on as well as funding of impact evaluations of development interventions have flourished. Unfortunately, controversy regarding the promotion and application of randomized experiments (RE) has led to a sense of polarization in the development policy and evaluation community. As some proponents claim epistemological supremacy of REs (with respect to attribution) the counter reaction among others has been rejection. Needless to say, such extreme positions are counterproductive to reaching a goal that is commonly endorsed: to learn more about what works and why in development. This paper discusses the prospects and limitations of REs from the perspective of three categories of challenges in impact evaluation: delimitation and scope, attribution versus explanation, and implementation challenges. The implicit lesson is twofold. First of all, the question ‘to randomize or not to randomize’ is overrated in the current debate. Limitations in scope, applicability as well as implementation will necessarily restrict the use of REs in development impact evaluation. There is a risk that the current popularity of REs in certain research and policy circles might lead to a backlash as too high expectations of REs may quicken its demise. More importantly, given the nature and scope of the challenges discussed in the paper, more energy should be devoted to developing and testing ‘rigorous’ mixed method approaches within a framework of theory-driven evaluation.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.ua.ac.be/download.aspx?c=.IOB&n=83953&ct=77447&e=249703
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB) in its series IOB Discussion Papers with number 2010.01.

    as in new window
    Length: 40 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iob:dpaper:2010001

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Prinsstraat 13, B-2000 Antwerp
    Phone: +32-(0)3-265 5770
    Fax: +32-(0)3-265 5771
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.uantwerpen.be/iob
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iob:dpaper:2010001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Hans De Backer).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.