The long-term impact of development interventions in rural Bangladesh

Peter Davis
evaluating the long-term impact of antipoverty interventions in rural bangladesh

This series of notes summarizes findings of a project entitled “What development interventions work?” undertaken by researchers of the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and Data Analysis and Technical Assistance Ltd. As part of a larger longitudinal study that resurveyed 1,907 households and 102 villages in 14 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts, the project focused on assessing the long-term impacts of a number of anti-poverty interventions—specifically, microfinance, agricultural technology, and educational transfers— on a range of monetary and nonmonetary measures of well-being. This note focuses on the long-term impacts on men’s and women’s assets of disseminating agricultural technologies to individuals compared with groups. It is hoped that these results will help policymakers, donors, and other stakeholders to effectively evaluate different interventions thereby contributing to the design of future anti-poverty programs in South Asia. Development interventions have varying impacts on the lives of poor people, but accurately assessing their effects and forming a balanced view of overall patterns—especially over the long term—is quite a challenge. The aim of this component of the project was to complement the quantitative analysis of the long-term impact of development interventions with qualitative analysis, drawing from participants’ perspectives and exploring the causal mechanisms observed to have contributed to improvement or decline in people’s life circumstances.