Tools and Methods for Evaluating the Efficiency of Development Interventions

Palenberg, M. (2011),  Evaluation Working Papers. Bonn: Bundesministe-rium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung. Available as pdf.


Previous BMZ Evaluation Working Papers have focused on measuring impact. The present paper explores approaches for assessing efficiency. Efficiency is a powerful concept for decision making and ex-post assessments of development interventions but, nevertheless, often treated rather superficially in project appraisal, project completion and evaluation reports. Assessing efficiency is not an easy task but with potential for improvements, as the report shows. Starting with definitions and the theoretical foundations the author proposes a three level classification related to the analytical power of efficiency analysis methods. Based on an extensive literature review and a broad range of interviews, the report identifies and describes 15 distinct methods and explains how they can be used to assess efficiency. It concludes with an overall assessment of the methods described and with recommendations for their application and further development.