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date: 17 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Significant gaps remain between what we know about development effectiveness and what we want to know. The chapter first tries to understand these persistent knowledge gaps in terms of distorted incentives, inadequate funding of evaluative research, and ethical objections to evaluations. The chapter then discusses how evaluations might become more relevant to the knowledge needs of practitioners and civil society. It is argued that (1) more attention needs to be given to identifying policy-relevant questions (including the case for intervention) and redressing publication biases in reporting the answers obtained; (2) a broader approach should be taken to the problems of internal validity (including heterogeneity, portfolio effects, and spillover effects); (3) the problems of external validity (including scaling up) merit more attention.

Keywords: external validity, heterogeneity, impact evaluation, internal validity

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