What Methods May Be Used in Impact Evaluations of Humanitarian Assistance?

88 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2015

See all articles by Jyotsna Puri

Jyotsna Puri

International Initiative for Impact Evaluation; University of Maryland - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics; United Nations - Development Programme (UNDP); World Bank Group

Anastasia Aladysheva

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI); ISDC - International Security and Development Center

Vegard Iversen

University of Manchester

Yashodhan Ghorpade

University of Sussex - Institute of Development Studies

Tilman Brück

IGZ - Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops; ISDC - International Security and Development Center; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Despite the widespread occurrence of humanitarian emergencies such as epidemics, earthquakes, droughts, floods and violent conflict and despite the significant financial resources devoted to humanitarian assistance, systematic learning from such interventions using rigorous theory-based impact evaluations is very rare. The objective of this paper is to examine the extent to which scientific impact evaluation methods can provide evidence to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in humanitarian action. This paper explores the methodological options and challenges associated with generating high quality evidence needed to answer key questions about the performance of humanitarian assistance, including whether assistance is reaching the right people, at the right time, is bringing about the desired changes in their lives (effectiveness) and is being delivered in the right doses, ways and with manageable costs (efficiency).With the help of six case studies and drawing on real-life examples from the small but growing academic literature, we demonstrate how impact evaluation methods can be used successfully and in an ethical manner to improve humanitarian assistance. A key lesson from our review is that it pays to be prepared. Much information is being collected these days about the risks of various emergencies unfolding, be they sudden onset or slow onset emergencies. Hence national actors and international donors can prepare for these events and for conducting meaningful impact evaluations. Given the overwhelming needs and the lack of funds, doing more with limited resources is a key challenge for humanitarian assistance and impact evaluation is one way of achieving this.

Keywords: impact evaluation, methodology, research design, statistics, humanitarian emergency, humanitarian assistance, disaster, violent conflict, reconstruction, aid, development

JEL Classification: H84, C93, O12, Q54

Suggested Citation

Puri, Jyotsna and Aladysheva, Anastasia and Iversen, Vegard and Ghorpade, Yashodhan and Brück, Tilman, What Methods May Be Used in Impact Evaluations of Humanitarian Assistance?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8755. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2554883

Jyotsna Puri (Contact Author)

International Initiative for Impact Evaluation ( email )

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University of Maryland - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Symmons Hall, Rm 2200
University of Maryland
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United Nations - Development Programme (UNDP) ( email )

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World Bank Group ( email )

1818 H Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Anastasia Aladysheva

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

Signalistgatan 9, SE-169 70
Solna
Sweden

ISDC - International Security and Development Center ( email )

Friedrichstr. 88
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Vegard Iversen

University of Manchester ( email )

Yashodhan Ghorpade

University of Sussex - Institute of Development Studies

Brighton
Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RE
United Kingdom

Tilman Brück

IGZ - Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops ( email )

Theodor-Echtermeyer-Str. 1
Grossbeeren, 14979
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.igzev.de

ISDC - International Security and Development Center ( email )

Friedrichstr. 88
Berlin, 10117
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.isd-center.org

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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