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Does Participation Improve Performance? Establishing Causality with Subjective Data

This resource was published in the journal, The World Bank Economic Review, Vol. 9, No. 2 (May, 1995), pp. 175-200.

Data from 121 diverse rural water projects provide strong statistical findings that increasing beneficiary participation directly causes better project outcomes. Three possible econometric objections to these findings are addressed and answered. The subjective nature of the data does not preclude valid, cardinal measures of participation appropriate for statistical analysis. “Halo effects”—changes in the measurement of one variable because of the observed state of another variable—do not seem to induce a strong upward bias in the measurement of participation or project performance. Reverse causation is unlikely: estimation using instrumental variables, data on project timing, and documentation of case studies support the cause-effect relation between participation and better project performance.

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Uploaded on: Nov 24, 2015
Last Updated: Dec 04, 2015
Year Published: 1995


Resource Tags

Resource Type: Impact Evidence Issues: Community Organizing, Environmental Justice, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Housing Rights & Informal Settlements Tool Type: Journal Articles & Books, Training Resources & Popular Education Method: Promoting Citizens' Participation in Governance Languages: English Regions: > Global Nature of Impact: Citizen Action & Participation, Impact on Income, Social inclusion Scale of Intervention/Impact: 10,000 to 100,000 people Institutions Engaged: NGOs, Service Delivery Agencies Evaluation Method: Secondary Data Analysis, Statistical Analysis