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Conducting influential impact evaluations in China: the experience of the Rural Education Action Project


  • Matthew Boswell
  • Scott Rozelle
  • Linxiu Zhang
  • Chengfang Liu
  • Renfu Luo
  • Yaojiang Shi


Impact evaluation has become an increasingly integral part of development project design and execution in recent years. Many questions remain, however, about what methods yield the most compelling evaluations, and how best to implement them. The Rural Education Action Project (REAP) is among the most successful impact evaluation groups currently operating in China. The goal of this paper is to share five practical strategies that REAP has employed to maximize the effectiveness of its impact evaluations. These strategies include the use of randomization and other experimental and quasi experimental research designs; pursuit of local and international collaboration; strict attention to policy relevance; a modular, incremental research approach; and robust outreach.
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  • Matthew Boswell & Scott Rozelle & Linxiu Zhang & Chengfang Liu & Renfu Luo & Yaojiang Shi, 2011. "Conducting influential impact evaluations in China: the experience of the Rural Education Action Project," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 420-430, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevef:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:420-430 DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2011.596940

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Woolcock, 2009. "Toward a plurality of methods in project evaluation: a contextualised approach to understanding impact trajectories and efficacy," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 1-14.
    2. Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2009. "In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 200-232, October.
    3. Kibaara, Betty & Ariga, Joshua & Olwande, John & Jayne, Thom S., 2008. "Trends in Kenyan Agricultural Productivity: 1997-2007," Working Papers 202611, Egerton University, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.
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    JEL classification:

    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship


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