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Challenges in Evaluating Development Effectiveness


  • Howard White


Evaluation quality is a function of methodological and data inputs. This paper argues that there has been inadequate investment in methodology, often resulting in low quality evaluation outputs. With an increased focus on results, evaluation needs to deliver credible information on the role of developmentsupported interventions in improving the lives of poor people, so attention to sound methodology matters. This paper explores three areas in which evaluation can be improved. First, reporting agency-wide performance through monitoring systems that satisfy the Triple-A criteria of aggregation, attribution and alignment; which includes procedures for the systematic summary of qualitative data. Second, more attention need to be paid to measuring impact, both through the use of randomisation where possible and appropriate, or through quasi-experimental methods. However, analysis of impact needs to be firmly embedded in a theory-based approach which maps the causal chain from inputs to impacts. Finally, analysis of sustainability needs to move beyond its current crude and cursory treatment to embrace the tools readily available to the discipline.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard White, 2005. "Challenges in Evaluating Development Effectiveness," Development and Comp Systems 0504014, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0504014
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 22

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    Cited by:

    1. Rizwana Siddiqui, 2013. "Impact Evaluation of Remittances for Pakistan: Propensity Score Matching Approach," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 52(1), pages 17-44.
    2. Muñiz Castillo, M.R. & Gasper, D.R., 2011. "Human autonomy effectiveness and development projects," ISS Working Papers - General Series 22692, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    3. Escobal, Javier A. & Cavero, Denice, 2012. "Transaction Costs, Institutional Arrangements and Inequality Outcomes: Potato Marketing by Small Producers in Rural Peru," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 329-341.
    4. Richard Manning & Howard White, 2014. "Measuring results in development: the role of impact evaluation in agency-wide performance measurement systems," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(4), pages 337-349, December.
    5. Ruth Alsop & Mette Bertelsen & Jeremy Holland, 2006. "Empowerment in Practice : From Analysis to Implementation," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6980, 06-2020.

    More about this item


    Evaluation; development effectiveness; World Bank;

    JEL classification:

    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth
    • P - Economic Systems

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