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Analyzing Effectiveness of Development Aid Projects: Evaluation Ratings or Project Indicators?


  • Laura Metzger

    (ETH Zurich)

  • Isabel Günther

    (ETH Zurich)


Ongoing empirical research on the drivers of project-aid effectiveness relies on World Bank evaluation ratings across heterogeneous aid sectors. This leads to two problems. First, it is difficult to identify which dimension of project performance World Bank evaluation ratings are measuring precisely. Second, only project management variables, which are sector independent, can be included in the analysis. This study concentrating on an analysis of 150 water supply projects enables us to work with a more precise and objective performance measure by defining sector-specific indicators of improved water supply. Moreover, we are able to analyze the impact of project design in addition to project management. We find that evaluation ratings and indicators of improved water supply are positively but weakly correlated. Project management variables have a higher impact on evaluation ratings whereas project design variables have a higher impact on improving water supply to the target group. Various independent variables even change sign if indicators of improved water supply instead of evaluation ratings are chosen as a performance measure of project-aid effectiveness. Taking into account project design in addition to project management and country characteristics considerably increases the share of variation in project performance that can be explained.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Metzger & Isabel Günther, 2013. "Analyzing Effectiveness of Development Aid Projects: Evaluation Ratings or Project Indicators?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 154, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:154

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alex Mourmouras & Anna Ivanova & George C. Anayotos & Wolfgang Mayer, 2003. "What Determines the Implementation of IMF-Supported Programs?," IMF Working Papers 03/8, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Guillaumont, Patrick & Laajaj, Rachid, 2006. "When instability increases the effectiveness of aid projects," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4034, The World Bank.
    3. Anand, Prathivadi Bhayankaram, 2013. "Every Drop Counts: Assessing Aid for Water and Sanitation," WIDER Working Paper Series 025, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Jonathan Isham & Daniel Kaufmann, 1999. "The Forgotten Rationale for Policy Reform: The Productivity of Investment Projects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 149-184.
    5. Kilby, Christopher, 2000. "Supervision and performance: the case of World Bank projects," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 233-259, June.
    6. Denizer, Cevdet & Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart, 2013. "Good countries or good projects? Macro and micro correlates of World Bank project performance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 288-302.
    7. George Mavrotas, 2005. "Aid heterogeneity: looking at aid effectiveness from a different angle," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(8), pages 1019-1036.
    8. Florencia Devoto & Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & William Parienté & Vincent Pons, 2012. "Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 68-99, November.
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    More about this item


    Aid effectiveness; evaluation; indicators; water supply;

    JEL classification:

    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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