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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

Economic Evaluation of Sustainable Development

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Focuses on emerging and pressing development priorities

  • Balances between tools and applications in development economics

  • Includes detailed illustrations and examples of applications of tools

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 34.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Evaluation, Economics, and Sustainable Development

    • Vinod Thomas, Namrata Chindarkar
    Pages 1-23Open Access
  3. The Spectrum of Impact Evaluations

    • Vinod Thomas, Namrata Chindarkar
    Pages 25-61Open Access
  4. The Picture from Cost-Benefit Analysis

    • Vinod Thomas, Namrata Chindarkar
    Pages 63-94Open Access
  5. Objectives-Based Evaluation for Accountability and Learning

    • Vinod Thomas, Namrata Chindarkar
    Pages 95-123Open Access
  6. Conclusion and Future Directions

    • Vinod Thomas, Namrata Chindarkar
    Pages 125-142Open Access
  7. Correction: Economic Evaluation of Sustainable Development

    • Vinod Thomas, Namrata Chindarkar
    Pages C1-C1Open Access
  8. Back Matter

    Pages 143-145

About this book

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.

This book presents methods to evaluate sustainable development using economic tools. The focus on sustainable development takes the reader beyond economic growth to encompass inclusion, environmental stewardship and good governance. 
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for outcomes. In illustrating the SDGs, the book employs three evaluation approaches: impact evaluation, cost-benefit analysis and objectives-based evaluation.
The innovation lies in connecting evaluation tools with economics. Inclusion, environmental care and good governance, thought of as “wicked problems”, are given centre stage. The book uses case studies to show the application of evaluation tools. It offers guidance to evaluation practitioners, students of development and policymakers.
The basic message is that evaluation comes to life when its links with socio-economic, environmental, and governance policies are capitalized on.  


  • Open Access
  • Development Evaluation and Sustainable Development
  • Development Finance and Sustainable Development
  • Impact Evaluation and Sustainable Development
  • Cost and Benefit Analysis and Sustainable Development
  • Objectives-based economic evaluation
  • Inclusive Economic Growth and Sustainable Development
  • Inequality and Sustainable Development
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Governance and Sustainable Development
  • Evaluation, Economics and Development
  • Spectrum of Impact Evaluations
  • Accountability for Development Financing


“This book focuses on the many problems that arise in evaluating past decisions and informing pending ones. Over the entire spectrum of policies relating to social and economic development. It takes readers on a guided tour of three main approaches, citing real-world examples in each case. Readers can gain much from the knowledge and wisdom reflected in its pages, based on the many decades its authors have spent in the struggle to improve human conditions around the world. Here one can learn not only about hopeful approaches, but also about their limitations and the many real-world obstacles that must be confronted in their application. Overall, a serious and honest attempt to inform readers of how complex are the problems of accelerating economic and social development, and a call for greater application of available techniques and approaches in this struggle.” (Arnold Harberger, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago and University of California Los Angeles)

“The book's central theme -- that evaluation should inform economic policy making -- is a key message for those in the business of sustaining development, growth and poverty reduction.” (Emmanuel Jimenez, Executive Director, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation)

“This book is an excellent primer on (i) economic approaches to evaluation, (ii) objectives-based evaluation and (iii) their application to the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. It will prove essential to students and scholars, but also to policy analysts who need practical methods to evaluate projects and policies in the new terrain, and to understand the conceptual and analytical foundations of proposed methods.” (Ravi Kanbur, T.H Lee Professor of World Affairs, Cornell University)

“In a world awash with data, very few people know how to move from data to evidence. This book is an invaluable guide to the tools and techniques that can be used. It links the disciplines of economics and evaluation and shows how the big challenges of our times—like achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals—depend on us all learning how to learn.” (Homi Kharas, Interim Vice President and Director, Global Economy and Development, The Brookings Institution )

“This book is important and timely. It provides a detailed road map towards excellence in the evaluation of sustainable development at the higher plane of global policy.” (Robert Picciotto, Former Director General, Independent Evaluation Group, The World Bank)

“Thomas and Chindarkar do an excellent job of providing tools to practitioners and guide them through the application of economics tools to evaluations of sustainable development. Impact evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, and objectives-based evaluations are married in a very nice collection of chapters that teaches and advocates high quality work. I recommend it highly.” (Jyotsna Puri, Head, Independent Evaluation Unit, Green Climate Fund)

“The strengths of this book are its broad approach to policy evaluation—embracing both impact evaluation and economic analysis—and the clarity of its exposition, backed up by many examples. This is a very welcome contribution.” (Martin Ravallion, Edmond D. Villani Chair in Economics, Georgetown University, Washington DC)

“This Book offers a timely and most needed contribution to the field of evaluation, by bridging the gap between economics and evaluation methods. Thomas and Chindarkar have succeeded in presenting a compelling discussion on the application of economics approaches to traditional evaluation practices to improve the assessment of policy, program and project development effectiveness.” (Marvin Taylor-Dormond, Director General of Evaluation of the Asian Development Bank)  

“This book has brought together and integrated major approaches to the evaluation of development policies and projects and indicated their strengths and complementarities in a much needed way. The reader will learn and benefit much from it.” (George S. Tolley, Professor Emeritus of Economics, The University of Chicago)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

    Vinod Thomas, Namrata Chindarkar

About the authors

Vinod Thomas, Visiting Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National
University of Singapore, was Senior Vice President, Independent Evaluation,
at the World Bank. He has authored 16 books including Climate Change and
Natural Disasters.
Namrata Chindarkar is Assistant Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public
Policy, National University of Singapore. She has published widely on sustainable
development, social policy, infrastructure, poverty and inequality, and gender.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Economic Evaluation of Sustainable Development

  • Authors: Vinod Thomas, Namrata Chindarkar

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Economics and Finance, Economics and Finance (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-13-6388-7Published: 01 May 2019

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-981-13-6391-7Published: 14 August 2020

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-13-6389-4Published: 16 April 2019

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIII, 145

  • Number of Illustrations: 19 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Development Economics, Development Studies, Sustainability, Economic Growth, Environmental Economics

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 34.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)