The chapter critically reviews the methods available for the ex post counterfactual analysis of programs that are assigned exclusively to individuals, households or locations. The emphasis is on the problems encountered in applying these methods to anti-poverty programs in developing countries, drawing on examples from actual evaluations. Two main lessons emerge. Firstly, despite the claims of advocates, no single method dominates; rigorous, policy-relevant evaluations should be open-minded about methodology, adapting to the problem, setting and data constraints. Secondly, future efforts to draw useful lessons from evaluations call for more policy-relevant data and methods than used in the classic assessment of mean impact for those assigned to the program. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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