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  • Reply to: Notes from the field: The danger of programs that pay for performance   16 hours 19 min ago
    Michael,
    Many thanks for the thoughtful comments.   I would agree entirely that with enough forethought we can combine the best of pay for performance with impact evaluation -- and it's the forethought I am trying to argue for.   As it stands now, with the increase in pay for performance, and a lack of forethought, my concern is that an impact evaluation is harder to fit into the program post-contract than if the program were not pay for performance.    But forethought would fix this. 
  • Reply to: Notes from the field: The danger of programs that pay for performance   16 hours 23 min ago
    Excellent point -- thanks Tania -- the time horizon is key, particularly if we are going to write contracts against the impacts/higher level outcomes that the impact evaluation will measure.  And to measure these impacts in an attributable way, then the impact evaluation would have to be built in.   Which then raises a sharp question on how to maintain the integrity of the impact evaluation.    And even if you go with a third party contract to maintain the impartiality of the evaluation, there will likely be issues on the precision of the final estimates and which set you want to use my friend Dan Gilligan was pointing out to me today. 
  • Reply to: Notes from the field: The danger of programs that pay for performance   16 hours 28 min ago
    I totally agree Steve, thanks for the thoughts. 
  • Reply to: Notes from the field: The danger of programs that pay for performance   16 hours 29 min ago
    Sure, this is definitely one way to go.   However, what concerns me is that the impact evaluation could entail additional costs (e.g. recruiting a control group) and it is hard to specify this set of costs, as well as the critical need to collaborate with the evaulator, in the implementer contract.
  • Reply to: Notes from the field: The danger of programs that pay for performance   3 days 10 hours ago

    Thanks for the post. You rightly lay out the value of paying for longer term outcome and impacts that give the implementer autonomy to innovation. Unfortunately as you note much of pay for performance is still too focused on outputs. In areas where there is no known technology to achieve impacts, or that technology is highly context dependent (low external validity), paying for impacts can be a great discovery mechanism to move governments and donors from planners to searchers.

    The impact evaluation problem you note is important and a valuable lesson, however it doesn't seem like it necessarily is an intrinsic problem to pay for performance. When done well and with enough forethought we can combine the best of pay for performance with impact evaluation.

    Finally it's worth comparing the alternative to measuring results. Governments spend significant amounts of money doing costly and time consuming audits which really say very little about the actual results achieved. Measuring results rather than receipts doesn't have to be as costly as many believe as long as we can move governments and donors out of the realm of doing costly audits.