Latin American and Caribbean Governments are committed to improving their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems as the means to strengthening transparency, accountability and the effectiveness of public sector spending. The Bank provides support to countries in establishing results-based monitoring and evaluation systems to help policy makers allocate scarce public resources more effectively and to provide inputs to the broader public debate on how to enhance the impact of poverty reduction strategies.
One important part of the M&E process involves the analysis of programs’ results or impact, through impact evaluation assessments. These assessments allow the Government, private sector, or any other organization that is implementing a program, to measure and evaluate its effectiveness after some time. Particularly, they allow identifying and quantifying the impact of the program in a particular group of people that take part in it, and in that way, evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of the program.
An impact evaluation assesses changes in the well-being of individuals, households, communities or firms that can be attributed to a particular project, program or policy. The central impact evaluation question is what would have happened to those receiving the intervention if they had not in fact received the program. Since we cannot observe this group both with and without the intervention, the key challenge is to develop a counterfactual – that is, a group which is as similar as possible (in observable and unobservable dimensions) to those receiving the intervention. This comparison allows for the establishment of definitive causality – attributing observed changes in welfare to the program, while removing confounding factors.
See the Impact Evaluation website of the PovertyNet