Development Impacts of Value Chain Interventions: How to Collect Credible Evidence and Draw Valid Conclusions in Impact Evaluations?
Journal on Chain and Network Science, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 69-84, 2011
16 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011 Last revised: 18 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 10, 2011
In development policy and practice, support to or interventions in value chains are considered to be instrumental for achieving outcomes such as poverty alleviation. This paper reviews methodological discussions on how to show the effects and workings of value chain support in a context of donors demanding rigorous impact evaluations. The paper starts a discussion with evaluation methods strongly anchored in ex-post statistical analysis of effect measurements, and argues in favor of a theory-based evaluation protocol, equipped to handle threats to valid conclusions. Value chains are open, multi-layered systems and development outcomes are multi-dimensional and contingent on contextual particularities. Moreover, development interventions in value chains are often time, place and commodity specific, unlikely to repeat in a similar way, which complicates generalization and constrains evaluative conclusions. The example of a small-grant fund promoting collective marketing by smallholder organizations illustrates these methodology challenges and shows the value of using a mix of methods for addressing the problems of outcome measuring, impact attribution, and generalizations from highly diverse contexts.
Keywords: rural development, mixed methods, attribution, organisational performance, realist evaluation
JEL Classification: B00, B41, C90, D23, D71, P13
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