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Evaluating anti-poverty programs

Listed author(s):
  • Ravallion, Martin

The author critically reviews the methods available for the ex-post counterfactual analysis of programs that are assigned exclusively to individuals, households, or locations. The discussion covers both experimental and non-experimental methods (including propensity-score matching, discontinuity designs, double and triple differences, and instrumental variables). Two main lessons emerge. First, despite the claims of advocates, no single method dominates; rigorous, policy-relevant evaluations should be open-minded about methodology. Second, future efforts to draw more useful lessons from evaluations will call for more policy-relevant measures and deeper explanations of measured impacts than are possible from the classic ("black box") assessment of mean impact.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3625.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2005
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3625
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