IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Flying Blind? Constructing Evidence-based Poverty Reduction Policies in PRSP Adopting Countries

Listed author(s):
  • Richard Marshall
  • Bernard Walters
  • Frederick Nixson
Registered author(s):

    The World Bank, alongside other development institutions and leading donors, has increasingly emphasised the importance of evidenced-based policymaking in addressing entrenched poverty. Additionally, widespread adoption of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) has necessitated establishing poverty baselines and updating them on a regular basis, to enable effective impact evaluation. To facilitate this, considerable resources have been devoted to providing sound longitudinal poverty data via the implementation of the World Bank’s flagship Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) programme. While a lively debate has emerged over the conceptual basis of poverty measurement within LSMSs, rather less has been said about the wider impact of basic changes in survey design and measurement approaches. We argue that the latter have been as important in shaping controversies over the comparability of national poverty aggregates and the value of LSMS data for policy analysis. Supported by a review of World Bank Poverty Assessments carried out since 2004, and a case study of the Mongolian experience, we find that variations in survey methods and subsequent major revisions are far from rare, and have generally been accompanied by inadequate disclosure. This paper shows that where revisions have been made, the lack of transparency undermines the application of standard analytical techniques and prevents the replication of key results. We conclude that insufficient efforts are being made to establish consistent and verifiable poverty data; and, moreover, that the lack of openness and rigour has permitted the fitting of results to predicted policy objectives and weakened the level of external scrutiny. An implication of this is that effective policymaking is made more difficult and national ownership is compromised. This supports the case for alternative, more eclectic approaches to the monitoring and evaluation of poverty reduction policies.

    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:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by BWPI, The University of Manchester in its series Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series with number 8509.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2009
    Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:8509
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Humanities Bridgeford Street, Oxford Road,Manchester, M13 9PL

    Phone: +44(0)7717 881567
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

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

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

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:8509. 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: (Rowena Harding)

    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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.