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Évaluer les politiques de développement. Evaluating Development Policies

James Mirrlees

Revue d’économie du développement, 2012, vol. 20, issue 4, 11-25

Abstract: This paper focuses on the issues at stake and difficulties involved in the evaluation of ?macro?-level policies. Although evaluation is a complex area where consensus is hard to reach, it nonetheless remains an indispensable tool that is largely recognized as necessary to enlighten decision-making. From the perspective of ?macro?-level evaluation, decisions that need to be informed are those conducive to growth, and GDP is used as the main yardstick to evaluate growth. The paper argues that although it is easy to use, GDP nonetheless entails a host of both technical and conceptual problems, which lead it to become a rather unsatisfactory way of evaluating what the economy produces. Other determinants of growth (such as human capital, environmental costs, value of the expertise required to evaluate) would need to be better taken into account, on the side of investments, to provide a more faithful measure of the economic value of policies. The paper concludes on the other uses that can be made of evaluation, and recalls how evaluation can also be an efficient tool for assessing and rewarding the performance of managers and decision-makers to encourage the achievement of expected development outcomes.

Date: 2012
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