Selected Economic and Sector Work

Date: October 2001
Type: Evaluation Reports
ADB administration and governance; Evaluation
Series: Special Evaluation Studies


Economic and sector work is a crucial input in the development process because it provides important analytical links to transform the ADB’s overall development strategy into operational programs. This evaluation study aims to identify current constraints to ADB’s economic and sector work, and suggest ways to make it more effective.

The study covers 50 economic and sector work activities in India, the Philippines, Samoa, and Vanuatu during 1995–2000. It found that this work absorbs about 5% to 6% of ADB staff time, and accounts for between $30 million and $50 million of technical assistance resources annually. It concludes that past efforts at enhancing the effectiveness of economic and sector work have not been very successful because of a perception within ADB that present staff resources are not adequate to generate effective outcomes.

The study says economic and sector work activities need to be mainstreamed in ADB's broad development mandate: “It is important to bring ESW (economic and sector work) up to the same level as other activities if it is to become a strategic instrument for ADB in years to come.”

To achieve this, economic and sector work needs to be treated as a separate product or service of ADB, just like technical assistance and other instruments. The study recommends defining economic and sector work as a separate nonlending service in ADB’s Operations Manual and other documents to ensure identical treatment throughout ADB. A system of tracking is needed to monitor resource use for, and the results of, ADB’s economic and sector work activities.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Evaluation Framework
  • Findings
  • The Way Forward: Management Of ESW
  • Appendixes