Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
Professor of the Practice of International Development, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Lead Economist, Development Research Group
Join us for a MADS featuring Lant Pritchett. Pritchett will be discussing a new working paper, which reframes the impact evaluation debate. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) has always been an element of implementing organizations’ accountability to their funders, and recently there has been a push for much greater rigor in evaluations to isolate causal impacts and enable more ‘evidence based’ approaches to accountability and budgeting. Pritchett and his co-author extend the idea of impact evaluation, and show that the techniques of impact evaluation can be directly useful to implementers, rather than a potentially threatening accountability mechanism. They introduce the concept of experiential learning (“e”), which allows implementing agencies to leverage monitoring data to search across alternative project designs. Within-project variations in design can serve as their own counter-factual, dramatically reducing the incremental cost of evaluation and increasing the usefulness of evaluation to implementers. The right combination of M, e, and E provides the right space for innovation and organizational capability building, while at the same time providing accountability and an evidence base for funding agencies.
*The Massachusetts Ave. Development Seminar (MADS) is a ten year-old research seminar series that brings some of the worlds leading development scholars to discuss their new research and ideas. The presentations meet an academic standard of quality and are at times technical, but retain a focus on a mixed audience of researchers and policymakers.