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Public project success as seen in a broad perspective

Gro Holst Volden

Evaluation and Program Planning, 2018, vol. 69, issue C, 109-117

Abstract: Infrastructure projects in developed countries are rarely evaluated ex-post. Despite their number and scope, our knowledge about their various impacts is surprisingly limited. The paper argues that such projects must be assessed in a broad perspective that includes both operational, tactical and strategic aspects, and unintended as well as intended effects. A generic six-criteria evaluation framework is suggested, inspired by a framework frequently used to evaluate development assistance projects. It is tested on 20 Norwegian projects from various sectors (transport, defence, ICT, buildings). The results indicate that the majority of projects were successful, especially in operational terms, possibly because they underwent external quality assurance up-front. It is argued that applying this type of standardized framework provides a good basis for comparison and learning across sectors. It is suggested that evaluations should be conducted with the aim of promoting accountability, building knowledge about infrastructure projects, and continuously improve the tools, methods and governance arrangements used in the front-end of project development.

Keywords: Project evaluation; Project success; Evaluation framework; OECD-DAC criteria (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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