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Introduction to the Special Feature: Evaluating the Impact of Agricultural Projects in Developing Countries


  • Paul Winters,

  • Alessandro Maffioli,

  • Lina Salazar

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    • Paul Winters is an Associate Professor with the Department of Economics at American University, Washington, DC, USA. E-mail: for correspondence. Alessandro Maffioli and Lina Salazar are respectively a Lead Economist with the Strategy Development Division and Economist with the Environment, Rural Development and Disaster Risk Management Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Washington, DC. The authors are grateful to the IDB’s Office of Strategic Planning and Development Effectiveness and in particular Carola Alvarez for financial support for this research and for sponsoring the workshop Evaluating the Impact of Agricultural Projects in Developing Countries held in Washington, DC on 19–20 October 2009. The authors also thank participants at this workshop for helpful discussion on the issues of impact evaluation for agricultural projects and the editor of this journal for his input into this article. The views expressed in this article and special feature are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the IDB or its member countries.


This article provides an introduction to the special feature on impact evaluation of agricultural projects in developing countries. The special feature is motivated by an increased interest in impact evaluation both within the economics profession and the development community. The article highlights methodological issues in conducting such evaluations and discusses the current literature that empirically assesses the effectiveness of agricultural projects. A synthesis of the articles presented in the special feature and their contribution to the literature are noted as well as conclusions on the next steps in evaluating agricultural projects in developing countries.