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Evaluation of non-governmental development organizations

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  • Elbers, Chris
  • Gunning, Jan Willem

Abstract

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are now widely used in development economics. However, their use is often resisted by non-governmental development organizations. The objections they raise differ between the three types of activities of such non-governmental organizations (NGOs): capacity building, advocacy, and service delivery. This paper discusses the objections and alternatives to RCTs for each type. RCTs might not be appropriate even for service delivery, the activity which would appear to be best suited to their use. This is because typically local NGO staff can use their discretion in selecting communities or individuals for participation in a service-delivery programme. A standard RCT does not mimic the use of private knowledge of local circumstances and can therefore be misleading.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2014-026
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    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/wp2014-026.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Instruments, Randomization, and Learning about Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 424-455, June.
    2. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2006. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 389-432, August.
    3. Jan Willem GUNNING, 2012. "How Can Development NGOs Be Evaluated ?," Working Papers P51, FERDI.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_instruments_randomization_learning_all_04april_2010 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Shahidur R. Khandker & Zaid Bakht & Gayatri B. Koolwal, 2009. "The Poverty Impact of Rural Roads: Evidence from Bangladesh," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 685-722, July.
    7. Martin Ravallion, 2009. "Evaluation in the Practice of Development," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 29-53, March.
    8. Almeida, Rita K. & Galasso, Emanuela, 2010. "Jump-starting Self-employment? Evidence for Welfare Participants in Argentina," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 742-755, May.
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    Keywords

    impact evaluation; randomized controlled trials; non-governmental development organizations;

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