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Journal Article

IDS Bulletin 49.4

The Cost-Effectiveness of Complex Projects: A Systematic Review of Methodologies

Published on 13 November 2018

Most development interventions are complex, comprising several interacting activities affecting multiple outcomes.

Impact evaluations of such interventions are widespread, but the literature offers little guidance on how to assess the cost-effectiveness of such integrated projects. We review the literature that conducts cost-effectiveness analyses of multiple interventions alongside impact evaluations in low- and middle-income countries. Only seven studies are identified in areas as diverse as de-worming, school support, conditional cash transfers, early childhood development, and social funds. We find that none of the applied approaches can be effectively employed in all instances, though each of them can be applied in some special cases.

Furthermore, none of the studies reviewed addresses output synergies. Given the rising numbers of impact assessments in development practice and their importance for policy, research needs to develop sound methods to assess the cost-effectiveness of integrated interventions.

Related Content

This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 49.4 (2018) The Cost-Effectiveness of Complex Projects: A Systematic Review of Methodologies

Cite this publication

Masset,M., Mascagni, G., Acharya,A., Egger, E. M., and Saha, A. (2018) 'The Cost-Effectiveness of Complex Projects: A Systematic Review of Methodologies' in The Millennium Villages: Lessons on Evaluating Integrated Rural Development. Brighton: IDS

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Authors

Image of Giulia Mascagni

Giulia Mascagni

IDS Research Fellow and ICTD Research Director

Image of Amrita Saha

Amrita Saha

Research Fellow

Edoardo Masset

Arnab Acharya

Eva-Maria Egger

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
doi
10.19088/1968-2018.160

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