Does the existing RIE evidence fit the German portfolio?

In an empirical research project DEval analysed in how far the global RIE evidence base is useful for the German development portfolio. On this page you can learn one key finding.


Key finding: Both at sector and project level, the GDC portfolio seems to match with the global evidence base. We find a large amount of potentially relevant, rigorous evidence available in 3ie’s Development Evidence Portal.
Source: ODA dataset, German bilateral ODA disbursements with BMZ as extending agency, 2014–2018 average; top 10 sectors by percentage share. Data source 2: 3ie DEP, amount of IEs & SRs, absolute numbers, May 2020 German

Figure: Comparing German ODA flows to existing rigorous impact evaluations (RIEs) and systematic reviews (SRs)

Further Information

We applied a two-step approach: in a first step, we mapped the ten sectors with the highest German ODA shares against the number of IEs and SRs published on 3ie’s DEP. A substantial volume of IEs and SRs are available in most sectors (except Reconstruction Relief & Rehabilitation). This analysis indicates a substantial likelihood that relevant evidence is available within the global RIE evidence base.

In a second step, we identified potentially relevant evidence for a random sample of five GIZ and five KfW Development Bank projects. On average, the keyword search showed more than 200 RIEs and about 20 SR hits per project. We then screened abstracts and used filters (e.g. by country, sector or fragility dimension) to find a maximum of five studies for which the abstracts indicated high relevance to the projects. For eight out of the ten projects we were able to identify those five studies, for one project we found four and for another we found three studies. Our document analysis suggests that a large amount of rigorous evidence is available within 3ie’s DEP that is potentially relevant to the GDC portfolio. Even at a project level, we were able to find a number of potentially relevant studies.

Conversely, the fact that a substantial number of RIEs have already been conducted in sectors relevant to GDC indicates that conducting RIEs in projects of GDC might be possible more often than is currently the case. The DIE initiative on impacts in governance already showed this in four concrete projects in the governance sector (Funk et al., 2018), a sector sometimes perceived as unsuitable for conducting RIEs.

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