The Development Impact Evaluation Initiative (DIME) was created in 2005 by the Bank's Chief Economist Office with the objective of generating knowledge on selected policies. Half a million dollars per year from the Bank's research budget was set aside to help the Bank conduct impact evaluations of policy interventions in multiple settings and use the evidence to produce generalizable conclusions about their effectiveness. Also in 2005, impact evaluation programs were started in the Africa Region and in the Human Development Network (HDN). These served as DIME's implementation backbone.
Expansion was rapid. In 2004, the Bank only had two dozen active impact evaluations (28). By 2008, that number had grown seven-fold . Through the Africa Impact Evaluation Initiative (AIM), the Africa Region's impact evaluation portfolio grew 40 times over so that today it represents 43 percent of active IEs. Similarly, through several thematic programs, HDN established a large number of impact evaluations and represents today 46 percent of active IEs.
Toward the end of 2008, the management support in the Africa Region and HDN and the critical mass of work caught the attention of the Bank's senior management. The office of the managing director responsible for knowledge products decided to take the agenda to the next level: to mainstream and strengthen the role of impact evaluation in the Bank as a corporate priority.
Read more about DIME | Video: World Bank Knowledge Conversation—Why Good Policies Fail
DIME has three objectives, as follows:
- Improve the quality of operations through iterative learning. DIME works to integrate the Bank's operational and analytical functions to incorporate evidence, empirically test the effectiveness of policy alternatives, scale up best-performing policies, and improve the effectiveness of programs during implementation.
- Strengthen client institutions for evidence-based policy making. DIME builds in-country capacity to understand and use impact evaluation to inform policy and operational decisions. Modalities include training, networking, and learning-by-doing via joint Bank-government evaluations.
- Generate knowledge on critical development questions. DIME seeks to secure the validity of learning for the country in which it operates by working with government programs at scale and in the prevailing institutional environment. By working programmatically across many countries and institutional settings, DIME also works to extract broader lessons of global interest.