Boosting or hindering aid effectiveness? An assessment of systems for measuring agency results

Holzapfel, Sarah
Discussion Paper (31/2014)

Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

ISBN: 978-3-88985-657-9
Price: 6 €

Amid rising criticism of aid effectiveness coupled with tight budgets in many donor countries at a time of economic crisis, donor agencies are under pressure to deliver value for money and to demonstrate development results. In response to these pressures, more and more donor agencies are adopting standard indicators, which allow for results to be aggregated across interventions and countries, in order to report agency-wide results. This paper analyses the reporting practices of ten bilateral and multilateral donor agencies and assesses the implications of agency-wide results measurement systems for aid effectiveness. The analysis shows that the data on aggregate results provided by donor agencies is only of limited informational value and does not provide an adequate basis for holding donor agencies to account. Moreover, reporting on agency-wide results may have a number of adverse effects. Given the various limitations and risks identified in this paper, I suggest that donor agencies should explore complementary options or alternatives to standard indicators in order to meet their reporting requirements. Donor agencies are advised to invest more in rigorous impact evaluations, to raise the transparency of individual interventions and to incorporate beneficiary feedback more systematically into their monitoring and evaluation efforts.

About the author

Holzapfel, Sarah

Agricultural Economy


Further experts

Klingebiel, Stephan

Political Science 

Röthel, Tim