Thursday, October 16, 2014

True Confessions of an Economic Evaluation Phobic

You know how the forces at work in the universe sometimes conspire and confronts you with a persistent nudge... over an over again? Well this week's nudge was "You know nothing about economic evaluation... do something about it - Other than ignoring it".

Words like "cost-benefit analysis, cost-efficiency analysis, cost-utility analysis"... actually anything with the word "cost" or "expenditure" in it... makes me nervous. So my usual strategy is to ignore the "Efficiency" criterion suggested by the OECD DAC, or I start fidgeting around for the contact details of one of my economist friends, and pass the job along. I have even managed to be part of a team doing a Public Expenditure Tracking Survey without touching the "Expenditure" side of the data.

But then I found these two resources that helped me to start to make a little bit more sense of it all. They are:

The South African Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation's Guideline on Economic Evaluation  At least it starts to explain the very many different kinds of economic evaluation you should consider if you work within the context of South Africa's National Evaluation Policy Framework.

And then this.

A free ebook by Julian King that presents a short theory for helping to answer the question "Does XYZ deliver good (enough) value for investment?" - Essentially the question any evaluator is supposed to help answer.

So, now, there is one more topic on my ever expanding reading list! If there is a "Bible" of economic evaluation, let me have the reference, ok?