Working Group on New Evidence Tools for Policy Impact

June 01, 2021

Following the release of the Center for Global Development report, When Will We Ever Learn: Improving Lives Through Impact Evaluation, and building on the rigorous impact evaluations of cash transfer programs in the 2000s, there has been over a decade of progress and action on implementing and using impact measurement for public policy decision-making. Alongside a steady increase in the number of published impact evaluations of programs and policies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), there is also a growing community of researchers and organizations from LMICs conducting these studies. There have also been a range of methodological developments, some of which have expanded the applications to new domains and some of which have increased the ability to derive inferences that make impact evaluation more policy-relevant. Further, the COVID-19 crisis has underscored the need for high-quality, timely, and context-specific evidence—for both effectiveness and political credibility.

Yet, impact evaluations—which are part of a knowledge system that captures relevant and timely information for decision-making—have gained variable traction overall. There are persistent challenges that limit the use of evidence by policymakers within LMIC governments, aid agencies, MDBs, and NGOs. For example, evaluation evidence is not always timely or generalizable; evaluations may lack relevance to public policy decisions and may not always align with decisionmakers’ priorities; and ways of working can lack context-specificity and immersion in the local policy process, among other challenges.

In response to these challenges and building on progress to date, CGD recently launched a working group to consider how the next generation of investments in impact evaluations—as part of the broader evidence and data ecosystem—can enhance their usefulness, responsiveness, and relevance for public policy decision-making. A renewed agenda is needed to help increase the efficiency of investments in impact evaluations so that they have the greatest chance of increasing the social and economic returns of public policies and programs.

Throughout the working group process from 2020 to 2022, CGD aims to highlight the perspectives and experiences of policymakers and leaders from LMICs, aid agencies, MDBs, and NGOs, among other evidence users and experts from the broader development research and evaluation communities. In parallel, CGD is conducting and commissioning a set of background research to inform the group’s deliberations. The process will culminate in a final report that offers practical recommendations for a renewed agenda for impact evaluations to move toward more and better funding and improved ways of working over the next decade.

Working Group Members

  • Amanda Glassman, Center for Global Development
  • Amos Njuguna, Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers for Africa (NIERA)
  • Andrew Karlyn, Living Goods
  • Annie Chumpitaz, Ministry of Education, Peru
  • Arianna Legovini, Development Impact Evaluation (DIME), World Bank
  • Ashu Handa, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the Transfer Project
  • Baboucarr Buoy, Effective Intervention
  • Casey Dunning, Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Catherine Kyobutungi, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
  • Cláudia Costin, Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education Policies (CEIPE), Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV)
  • Cynthia Bosumtwi-Sam, Innovations for Poverty Action
  • Daniel Handel, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3iE)
  • Essaïd Azzouzi, Millennium Challenge Account-Morocco
  • Ferdinando Regalia, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Gonzalo Hernández Licona, Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network
  • Gulzar Natarajan, Government of India
  • Ida Lindkvist, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
  • Iqbal Dhaliwal, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)
  • Janeen Madan Keller, Center for Global Development
  • Jeannie Annan, International Rescue Committee
  • Kelly Bidwell, Office of Evaluation Sciences, US General Services Administration
  • Laurenz Langer, Africa Centre for Evidence, University of Johannesburg
  • Marie Gaarder, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3iE)
  • Mauricio Santamaria, ANIF – Centro de Estudios Económicos
  • Megan Kennedy-Chouane, OECD Development Assistance Committee
  • Michael Hiscox, Harvard University
  • Mushfiq Mobarak, Yale University
  • Neil Buddy Shah, GiveWell
  • Nompumelelo Mohohlwane, South African Department of Basic Education
  • Norma Altshuler, Hewlett Foundation
  • Paul Niehaus, GiveDirectly
  • Peter Evans, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • Prudence Kaoma, Ministry of National Development and Planning, Zambia
  • Radha Rajkotia, Innovations for Poverty Action
  • Russell Siegelman, Stanford Business School & Global Innovation Fund
  • Ruth Levine, IDinsight
  • Santhosh Mathew, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, India Country Office
  • Sarah Rose, Center for Global Development

Background Research

Meeting Policymakers Where They Are: Evidence-to-Policy and Practice Partnership Models
Rapid and Rigorous Impact Evaluation: Advances in the Methods and Data Available for Timely and Cost-Efficient Evaluation