IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Targets and indicators in World Bank population projects


  • Baldwin, George


In reviewing World Bank evaluations of the impact of population projects, the author explains the nature and uses of four families of performance indicators. Two measure inputs: Project implementation indicators, which are project-specific, are the principal measures used in Bank supervision. They measure success in creating sources capable of conducting certain desired activities. Process (or activity) indicators measure performance of a project's intended activities but tell nothing about the yield or output of those activities. Two measure output: Performance (or intermediate-output) indicators measure the yield or output-performance of a project or program. For family planning, the principal indicator in this category is acceptor figures, normally with details about methods used plus the age, parity, and geographical distribution of acceptors. Quality may or may not be good and coverage may or may not be comprehensive. These indicators do not directly measure ultimate demographic impacts - lower fertility and slower population growth. Demographic outcome (or impact) indicators do measure demographic impacts, usually the contraceptive prevalence rate and age-specific and total fertility rates. One can use a desired value of any comparator as a target, but a target is only one possible comparator. Two more widely used comparators for family planning are trends (comparing current with past performance) and international performance (an external comparison). The author recommends strengthening the Bank's use of world (successful developing country) standards and of trend analysis rather than increasing its use of target setting. The Bank's primary interest is normally the performance of the borrower's national program, so more attention should be given to program-level rather than to project-level performance - except for pilot projects. The author recommends: that the Bank standardize its terminology about these four families of indicators; that the Population and Human Resources Department periodically prepare comparator tables and graphs for use in Bank project and sector reports; that the Bank discontinue Project Performance Audit Reports on population projects, as they seldom add much to information and judgments contained in Project Completion Reports - the money saved could be applied to more effective evaluation research; that operational staff show more concern for a program's contraceptive mix; that more attention be paid to a program's service quality; and that the use of demographic and health surveys be the rule, not the exception, in Bank population and health projects.

Suggested Citation

  • Baldwin, George, 1992. "Targets and indicators in World Bank population projects," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1048, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1048

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Faini, Riccardo & Clavijo, Fernando & Senhadji-Semlali, Abdel, 1992. "The fallacy of composition argument : Is it relevant for LDCs' manufactures exports?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 865-882, May.
    2. Drusilla K. Brown & Robert M. Stern, 1989. "U.S.-Canada Bilateral Tariff Elimination: The Role of Product Differentiation and Market Structure," NBER Chapters,in: Trade Policies for International Competitiveness, pages 217-254 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Whalley, John, 1984. "The North-South Debate and the Terms of Trade: An Applied General Equilibrium Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(2), pages 224-234, May.
    4. Goldstein, Morris & Khan, Mohsin S., 1985. "Income and price effects in foreign trade," Handbook of International Economics,in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1041-1105 Elsevier.
    5. Havrylyshyn, Oli & Wolf, Martin, 1983. "Recent trends in trade among developing countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 333-362, May.
    6. Edwards, Sebastian, 1992. "Trade orientation, distortions and growth in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 31-57, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1048. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.