What Can We Learn from Impact Evaluations?
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In the past decade, non-governmental organizations have been increasingly pressed to demonstrate whether their projects and programs are effective and contribute to enhancing the well-being of their beneficiaries. Although monitoring and evaluation have always been part of aid policies, most traditional evaluation methods come in for criticism because of their lack of rigor, selection biases and inability to address cause-and-effect questions. A recent surge in impact evaluations represents a response to the growing demands of policy makers that they be better informed about the impact of aid policies in general and specific aid projects in particular. Such impact evaluations must be clearly differentiated from evaluations in general: Whereas traditional evaluations address questions about the design or implementation of a project/program, impact evaluations are structured around attribution questions, namely, whether the change in outcomes is caused by the intervention....