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How Can Development NGOs Be Evaluated ?


  • Jan Willem GUNNING

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)


In the past decade there has been a remarkable surge of interest in using impact evaluation to establish the effectiveness of development interventions. The conventional evaluation methods used by development consultants typically rely on simplistic before-after or with-without comparisons. Impact evaluation, by contrast, involves comparing actual outcomes with a formal counterfactual. Any differences between the two can be attributed to the intervention if, and only if, the counterfactual is credible. A conventional before-after comparison fails this test since the “before” situation is obviously not a credible counterfactual: outcomes could have changed over time for reasons unrelated to the intervention.Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are usually considered the preferred design for impact evaluation, but there are also regression-based techniques such as regression discontinuity designs and regressions in first differences (double differencing).

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Willem GUNNING, 2012. "How Can Development NGOs Be Evaluated ?," Working Papers P51, FERDI.
  • Handle: RePEc:fdi:wpaper:142

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chris Elbers & Jan Willem Gunning, 2012. "Evaluation of Development Programs: Using Regressions to assess the Impact of Complex Interventions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-081/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elbers, Chris & Gunning, Jan Willem, 2014. "Evaluation of non-governmental development organizations," WIDER Working Paper Series 026, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    JEL classification:

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


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