Case #1903.0

Designing Impact Evaluations: Assessing Jamaica's PATH Program

Publication Date: April 30, 2009
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This case asks participants to put themselves in the position of a government official in charge of selecting an evaluation design to assess the impact of a social program. The goal is to illustrate the tradeoffs that are made in the real world when trying to balance the desire for a rigorous and credible evaluation design with the logistic, political, financial and ethical constraints that so frequently arise in evaluating social programs. Participants are asked to assess the strengths and weaknesses of three possible evaluation designs using as criteria the scientific rigor, political feasibility, logistical implications, and financial feasibility of each design.

The case includes a 5:30-minute video interview with Jason Wilks, a Senior Policy Analyst with the team in charge of monitoring the PATH Program for the Jamaican government. Wilks describes the political context in Jamaica at the time and the internal and external pressures the government was under as it considered the three evaluation designs. The video contains three short segments that can be played throughout the class and a 3-minute “reveal” where Wilks explains the government’s ultimate decision. The four segments can also be played sequentially at the end of the case discussion. Please note: The video portion of this case is included in the teaching plan and is intended for instructors to use in class. Here is more information on how to access teaching plans

Learning Objective:
The case is based on a set of events that took place in the context of an impact evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program in Jamaica.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Dan Levy, Michael McCreless, and Daniel Bjorkegren
Faculty Lead:
Dan Levy
Video Producer:
Patricia Garcia-Rios
Pages (incl. exhibits):