Toward closing the evaluation gap: lessons from three recent impact evaluations of social programs in Latin America and the Caribbean

Blair, Randall; Campuzano, Larissa; Levy, Dan; Moreno, Lorenzo (2009)


Blair, Randall, Larissa Campuzano, Dan Levy, and Lorenzo Moreno. 2009. “Toward Closing The Evaluation Gap: Lessons From Three Recent Impact Evaluations Of Social Programs In Latin America And The Caribbean”. Well Being And Social Policy 5 (2): 1-23.
Despite recent growing demand from funders and governments, rigorous impact evaluations in Latin America and the Caribbean remain the exception rather than the rule. Many commissioned impact evaluations are methodologically weak, and thus only marginally useful in assessing the impact of social interventions. Other impact evaluations feature strong research methodologies at their conception, but face considerable institutional challenges during key points in the design and implementation phases. This paper identifies some of the barriers that limit the design and implementation of rigorous impact evaluations in this region, as well as several enablers to the successful design and implementation of such evaluations. The paper also outlines some key practices for designing and implementing high-quality impact evaluations in Latin America and the Caribbean. We use a case study methodology that combines our experience designing and implementing impact evaluations in three ongoing or recent social programs in El Salvador, Jamaica, and Mexico.