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Theory-Based Impact Evaluation

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  • White, Howard

    () (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation)

Abstract

Calls for rigorous impact evaluation have been accompanied by the quest not just to find out what works but why. It is widely accepted that a theory based approach to impact evaluation, one that maps out the causal chain from inputs to outcomes and impact and tests the underlying assumptions, will shed light on the why question. But application of a theory based approach remains weak. This paper identifies the following six principles to successful application of the approach: (1) map out the causal chain (programme theory); (2) understand context; (3) anticipate heterogeneity; (4) rigorous evaluation of impact using a credible counterfactual; (5) rigorous factual analysis; and (6) use mixed methods.

Suggested Citation

  • White, Howard, 2009. "Theory-Based Impact Evaluation," 3ie Publications 2009-3, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:iiierp:2009_003
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    Cited by:

    1. Marian Meller & Stephan Litschig, 2014. "Saving Lives: Evidence from a Conditional Food Supplementation Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(4), pages 1014-1052.
    2. Gaarder, Marie & Annan, Jeannie, 2013. "Impact evaluation of conflict prevention and peacebuilding interventions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6496, The World Bank.
    3. Ravallion, Martin, 2008. "Evaluating Anti-Poverty Programs," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Howard White, 2013. "An introduction to the use of randomised control trials to evaluate development interventions," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 30-49, March.
    5. Sarah Bracking, 2012. "How do Investors Value Environmental Harm/Care? Private Equity Funds, Development Finance Institutions and the Partial Financialization of Nature-based Industries," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 43(1), pages 271-293, January.
    6. Bose, Ron, 2010. "A checklist for the reporting of randomized control trials of social and economic policy interventions in developing countries: CEDE Version 1.0," 3ie Publications 2010-6, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    causal chain; impact evaluation; mixed methods;

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