Evaluating CTs’ impacts

Interpreting results from evaluations

Interpreting Africa’s CT evaluations

Results from evaluations of African CTs should be interpreted carefully. Important points to keep in mind include the following:
  • Results are more likely to be published when significant program impacts are found, particularly if the results are positive. (Publication bias)
  • Opportunity costs of CTs in comparison to other development projects/foci should be considered in light of both the present and expected future demand on resources. This issue is not one easily answered by traditional impact evaluations.
  • Some results from CTs may only develop over a longer timeframe than that used in a typical impact evaluation; immediate or mid-term effects will not give the entire story.
  • Cash transfers may have direct or indirect general equilibrium effects on labor supply and demand, migration and remittances, and income inequality, both in the short-run and long-run.
  • Many evaluations of African CTs have lacked criteria needed for a causal interpretation. These evaluations primarily evaluate preprogram characteristics of selected beneficiaries and reveal what beneficiaries report they purchased with their cash, how beneficiaries thought the programs helped them, or how they felt about receiving cash transfers in lieu of in-kind transfers or vouchers.