Evaluations with Impact: Decision-focused Impact Evaluation as a Practical Policymaking Tool | View the web version

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International Development Speaker Series


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Analyst conducting interview, photo courtesy IDinsight

Photo courtesy IDinsight website

Evaluations with Impact:
Decision-focused Impact Evaluation as a Practical Policymaking Tool


Daniel Stein

Daniel Stein

Senior Economist,


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RAND Corporation

Santa Monica Office
Room 4312
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

12–1:00 p.m. PST

Lunch will be provided

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Impact evaluations have enhanced international development discourse and thinking over the past 15 years, but the full promise of impact evaluations to improve lives has yet to be realized. Rigorous impact evaluations to date have largely focused on contributing to a global learning agenda. These "knowledge-focused evaluations" face two challenges that have limited the extent to which they have informed policy and programmatic decisions. First, evaluator incentives are often misaligned with implementer needs. Second, many impact evaluation results do not generalize across context.

A new kind of impact evaluation has recently emerged, one that prioritizes the implementer's decision-making needs over potential contributions to global knowledge. These "decision-focused evaluations" are driven by implementer demand, tailored to implementer needs and constraints, and embedded within implementer structures. DFEs mitigate generalizability limitations by testing interventions under conditions very similar to those in which the interventions could be scaled. By reframing the primary evaluation objective, they allow implementers to generate and use rigorous evidence more quickly, more affordably and more effectively than ever before.


Dan Stein is a senior economist at IDinsight, based out of San Francisco. Dan has experience with a wide variety of evaluation work in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His research portfolio is concentrated on agricultural technology adoption, microfinance, natural resource management, and nutrition. He previously worked on the Development Impact team at the World Bank. Dan holds BA degrees in physics and political economy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics.

Learn More

In Santa Monica, please join us in conference room 4312; lunch will be provided. If you are based elsewhere, you can connect via webmeeting and phone: Login to https://webmeetingext.rand.org/idssmeeting and dial in 1-800-747-5150 (passcode: 5288026#).

If you would like to schedule a meeting with Dr. Stein, contact Gabriela Armenta, garmenta@prgs.edu.

To learn more about IDSS visit us online. IDSS is sponsored by Pardee RAND Graduate School and several RAND research units: RAND Labor and Population, RAND International, RAND Health, and RAND Education.

Pardee RAND Graduate School
International Development Speaker Series