Impact evaluations provide empirical evidence showing whether development interventions result in measurable impact and greater aid effectiveness.
Impact evaluations provide empirical evidence regarding the outcomes or results attributable to development projects. Evidence on what works and does not work is important in improving accountability and learning from the development interventions. Before-after comparisons or comparisons between areas with and without projects often lead to false conclusions about project effects, because the differences observed are due to many other factors than the project alone. Impact evaluation offers a set of tools to separate the consequences of projects from other drivers of change, in order to understand what changes are truly attributable to projects. Impact evaluation has a variety of applications: from understanding which approach to an intervention is most effective, to ascertaining causal relationships that will effectively reduce poverty. All impact evaluation techniques are premised on the concept of a “counterfactual”, which is either identified as a randomly selected “control group” and is approximated econometrically.
Implementing impact evaluation at ADB
Although impact evaluation is a growing field, there remains little evidence about the contribution of individual infrastructure projects and programs, which receive a majority of ADB’s finance, to development goals. Moreover, there are many choices and assumptions that underpin the designs of projects in all sectors, of which few are empirically tested. More systematic measurement of project/program outcomes through impact evaluation supports evidence-based policymaking and helps development partners design and implement projects more effectively. ADB recognizes that impact evaluation will help ADB and its developing member countries (DMCs) allocate limited resources more efficiently, guide the design of more effective interventions and enable evidence-based policy.
In line with its priority on managing for development results and mainstreaming impact evaluation in the project cycle, ADB approved the following technical assistance projects.
- TA 7680 Implementing Impact Evaluation at ADB (Approved 7 December 2010) - This technical assistance project will produce at least five impact evaluation studies, with published case study illustrations; build awareness and develop capacity development; and provide technical support in selecting and implementing impact evaluation studies.
- Cluster TA 0012 Developing Impact Evaluation Methodologies, Approaches, and Capacities in Selected Developing Member Countries (Approved 14 January 2013) - This cluster TA project consisting of 3 subprojects has a total amount of USD4.5 million. It involves a series of impact evaluation studies over an extended period in various DMCs. The subprojects will facilitate learning by DMCs from experiences on the effectiveness of interventions, thereby effecting technology and/or knowledge transfer between and among DMCs and ADB. Subproject 1 (TA 8332) amounting to USD1.5 million was approved in February 2013. Under the subproject TA, IE conferences and training workshops have been conducted and a guidebook on impact evaluation for ADB staff is being developed.
Ongoing and pipeline IE studies under TA 7680 and TA 8332
- Impact Evaluation of Medicard and Food Stamp Programs
- Impact Evaluation of JobStart Philippines
- Endline Survey and Impact Evaluation of Eastern and North Central Provincial Council Road Project
Papua New Guinea
- Impact Evaluation of Rural Health Service Delivery Project
- Impact Evaluation of Road Access on Poverty and Other Social Welfare Indicators in Rural Highlands Communities of Papua New Guinea
Progress of ongoing studies under TA 7680 and TA 8332
- Conference on Impact Evaluation: Methods, Practices, and Lessons
- Impact Evaluation Week: Evaluating for Impact, 4-8 November 2013
- 2014 International Workshop and Conference on Impact Evaluation “Making Impact Evaluation Matter: Better Evidence for Effective Policies and Program”, 1–5 September 2014
Other ongoing ADB IE studies
- Ongoing and Planned Impact Evaluation Studies (as of February 2015)
Completed ADB IE studies
- Completed Impact Evaluation Studies (as of February 2015)
- Impact Evaluation: Methodological and Operational Issues
- A Review of Recent Developments in Rigorous Impact Evaluation
- Impact evaluation studies by ADB’s Independent Evaluation Department
- Impact stories by ADB in country, regional sector and thematic brochures
Potential IE partners
- Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab
- Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Impact Assessment Program
- Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Impact Evaluation
- Evidence for Policy Design, Center for International Development at Harvard University
- Inter-American Development Bank - Office of Evaluation and Oversight
- Impact Evaluation Network
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
- International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)
- International Organisation for Cooperation in Evaluation
- Millennium Challenge Corporation - Impact Evaluation
- Network of Networks for Impact Evaluation (NONIE)
- Organisation for Co-operation and Development-Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) Network on Development Evaluation
- Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS)
- United Nations - Evaluation Group
- World Bank's Development Impact Evaluation Initiative (DIME)
- World Bank's Poverty Reduction & Equity - Impact Evaluation