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Davis, Benjamin & Handa, Sudhanshu (2016). Implementing Rigorous Evaluations in the Real World: The Quantitative Approach to Evaluation Design in the Transfer Project.. Davis, Benjamin; Handa, Sudhanshu; Hypher, Nicola; Winder Rossi, Natalia; Winters, Paul; & Yablonski, Jennifer (Eds.) (pp. 43-70). Oxford, England: FAO.


The defining characteristic of the Transfer Project impact evaluations of cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa is their full integration into national ministries and associated administrative systems. This means that the design of the impact evaluation must fit into the operational procedures and roll-out plan of the programme and that not all evaluation design parameters are fully under the control of the researchers. While this may weaken internal validity, embedding evaluation into the ‘real world’ of programme implementation strengthens external validity. This chapter provides an overview of the Transfer Project impact evaluations, focusing on the inter-play between quantitative rigour and political and operational constraints. The chapter highlights key approaches and innovations, particularly the integration of both productive and social dimensions of household activity and behaviour, and draws lessons learned in terms of building rigorous impact evaluations that feed directly into the decision-making process on social protection interventions in complex institutional environments.


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Davis, Benjamin
Handa, Sudhanshu