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What Determines Evaluation Outcomes? Evidence from Bi- and Multilateral Development Cooperation


  • Michaelowa, Katharina
  • Borrmann, Axel


Donor agencies invest considerable financial and human resources to evaluate the outcome of their development activities. To derive institutional conditions conducive to an efficient use of these resources, we develop a multi-level principal-agent model focusing on the various interests of the different actors involved in the evaluation process. The model highlights two central problems: (i) the aid agencies? conflicting objectives of transparency and self-legitimization, and (ii) the potential collusion between the evaluator and the project manager. Empirical evidence for the World Bank and different German donor agencies reveals concrete institutional requirements for a reduced evaluation bias and increased transparency.

Suggested Citation

  • Michaelowa, Katharina & Borrmann, Axel, 2004. "What Determines Evaluation Outcomes? Evidence from Bi- and Multilateral Development Cooperation," HWWA Discussion Papers 310, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:hwwadp:26176

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dollar, David & Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "What Explains the Success or Failure of Structural Adjustment Programmes?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 894-917, October.
    2. Dilip Mookherjee & Ivan Png, 1989. "Optimal Auditing, Insurance, and Redistribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 399-415.
    3. William Easterly, 2002. "The cartel of good intentions: The problem of bureaucracy in foreign aid," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(4), pages 223-250.
    4. Vaubel, Roland, 2003. "Principal-Agent-Probleme in internationalen Organisationen," HWWA Discussion Papers 219, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
    5. Stefan Mann, 2000. "The Demand for Evaluation from a Public Choice Perspective," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 69(3), pages 371-378.
    6. Kilby, Christopher, 2000. "Supervision and performance: the case of World Bank projects," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 233-259, June.
    7. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
    8. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn & Basu, Swati, 1998. "Does Economic Analysis Improve the Quality of Foreign Assistance?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 385-418, September.
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    More about this item


    Development cooperation; evaluation; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate


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