What Influences World Bank Project Evaluations?
In 2011, the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group made its project ratings database public. With broad geographic and sectoral coverage, this database is a valuable resource for research on development effectiveness, what works and what does not. This chapter first provides an overview for scholars interested in evaluation but unfamiliar with the World Bank evaluation system. Next we examine whether geopolitical or institutional factors influence ratings. We focus on how projects are selected for performance assessments and what factors influence project ratings. We find evidence that bureaucratic factors influence selection and that one geopolitical variable—nonpermanent United Nations Security Council membership—impacts ratings. Nonetheless if researchers control for potential biases, World Bank project ratings can provide a valuable way to measure project quality in many applications.
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