Blog Post - March 2023

NGOs and the effectiveness of interventions: Evidence from India

Prior engagement with NGOs boosts intervention effectiveness, which should be accounted for when evaluating research conducted with local implementation partners. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) play increasingly important roles as implementers of development interventions. Over 80% of currently financed World Bank projects, for example, involve the participation of an NGO or a civil society organisation, compared to just 21% in 1990 (World Bank 2013). In recent years, NGOs have also emerged as vital partners for conducting applied development research. NGOs implemented almost 40% - the single largest share - of all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published in top economics journals between 2009 and 2014 (Peters et al. 2018). Despite this growing influence, rigorous analyses of the effects that NGOs have on outcomes are rare (Brass et al. 2018), and little is known about what it is about NGOs - what they do, where they work, or a bit of both? - that drives the success of the interventions they implement.
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