The Thought Leadership Paper series launched in August 2012 as another path for Abt Associates’ talented staff to share their ideas with the world. The series includes working papers, white papers, and re-publications representing a rich diversity of thought leadership from across Abt Associates. Papers in the series undergo a peer review process.

Technical Assistance for Economic Governance: A Guide to Select, Develop, and Implement Economic Policy Projects
Narciso Suárez, Lucía Gamboa
February 2015

Identifying opportunities for technical assistance on economic development can be tricky and overwhelming. Project managers face a multitude of policy initiatives, programs, and institutions—directly or indirectly devoted to achieving economic growth—to choose from under time, know-how and budget constraints. Economic development initiatives have the particularity of taking time to produce results and even then impact can be hard to observe if careful monitoring and evaluation are not in place. Abt’s Narciso Suárez and Lucía Gamboa propose an approach for pre-selecting, planning, and implementing international economic development projects through foreign technical assistance. 


Making an Impact: Technical Assistance, Reporting Requirements and the Challenge of Improving Governance
Tim Kessler
January 2015

Foreign technical assistance for international development is increasingly driven by quantifiable indicators of impact. For this reason, governance projects are typically measured by reporting the number of achievements that improve the effectiveness of government interventions or strengthen the effectiveness of public sector institutions. The paper argues that this approach to impact measurement reveals relatively little about the actual achievements of foreign assistance. Counting can result in reporting (whether deliberate or not) that exaggerates the significance of relatively minor improvements, or obscures the impact of reforms that fundamentally change the public sector.


The Centers of Excellence Approach in the Dominican Republic: Empowering Teams to Improve Maternal and Neonatal Health Outcomes
Elizabeth Conklin, Carlos Cuellar, and Alexandra Hulme
November 2014

This paper by Elizabeth Conklin, Alexandra Hulme, and Carlos Cuellar describes how a “Centers of Excellence” capacity building approach in the Dominican Republic brought about changes in the health system that led to service delivery and quality improvements and substantial reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality.


Read more Thought Leadership Papers:

Empowering Vulnerable Populations to Build Resilience: Concept Note and Project-Based Applications Thierry van Bastelaer December 2014
A Review of Methods to Evaluate HIV Prevention Interventions for People Who Inject Drugs in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Methods, Gaps, Challenges and Opportunities Theodore M. Hammett, Ph.D., and Danielle S. Parsons-Smith, M.P.H. July 2014
How Much Money Should Be Set Aside for Accruals in HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration? Meryl Finkel May 2013
The Moving to Opportunity Demonstration’s Impact on Health and Well-being Among High Dosage Participants Shawn Moulton, Laura R. Peck, and Keri-Nicole Dillman February 2013
UI in the Early 21st Century Jacob Alex Klerman January 2013
What Works for Addressing the What Works Question in Field Experiments Laura R. Peck July 2012
Obstacles to and Limitations of Social Experiments: 15 False Alarms Stephen H. Bell & Laura R. Peck June 2012
Interested in Evaluation and Methodology?