Poverty Impact Assessment (PIA)


  1. PIA improves decision making for development results

  2. How PIA works

  3. Key reading on PIA

  4. Networks you can use for poverty impact assessment

  5. Training and Events

  6. Publications

  7. Websites you can use for poverty impact assessment

1. PIA improves decision making for development results

How can donors and partner countries assess the intended and unintended consequences of donor interventions? The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) explores ex ante Poverty Impact Assessment (PIA), which can assist in modifying the design of interventions to improve pro-poor impacts by identifying key areas for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It can be applied to most modalities of donor support.

PIA is a process which helps policy-makers to understand the intended and unintended consequences of their interventions. This approach considers that good design of an intervention requires governments and their partners to understand the effect of their policies on diverse social groups, actors and institutions, including those not targeted by the policy.

The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness stresses the importance of results-oriented frameworks, harmonisation and alignment to improve aid effectiveness and to assure better pro-poor outcomes. Yet, prior analysis of the impacts of policy and investment decisions on poverty reduction is a complex task. It is often built on contentious assumptions and is dependent on data availability. Ex ante PIA helps donors and their partners understand and maximise the poverty reducing impacts of their interventions. It responds both to the need for accountability to partners’ constituencies and to the importance of transparent evidence-based decision-making. It can identify interventions with high impact on poverty reduction and pro-poor growth as well as mitigating measures to protect the poor. A broad application of ex ante PIA could also provide a basis for a harmonised reporting system on poverty impacts.

Poverty Impact Assessment helps decision makers determine strategic choices for public actions so as to have the greatest impact on reducing poverty and achieving pro-poor growth. PIA provides a better understanding about potential winners and losers of an intervention and thus strengthens a results-oriented approach. PIA helps to understand stakeholders and institutions that influence and are influenced by an intervention understand the importance and inter-relationship of specific transmission channels through which changes are transmitted to the stakeholders assess the likely positive and negative outcomes for stakeholders taking into account multi-dimensionality of poverty assess the reliability of data/information and knowledge gaps.

Using PIA, policy-makers can estimate the likely quantitative and qualitative outcomes of the policy for poor groups, identify potential risks and assess the reliability of available data. Through involving people with different interests and approaches, ex-ante Impact Assessment helps to save resources, and design interventions to be better targeted to achieve their goals and avoid unintended harmful consequences. Thus it also contributes to strengthening the transparency and accountability of democratically elected governments, and encourages consistency of policy-making across policy areas.

PIA is not just another new approach to assess the distributional impacts of interventions. It deliberately draws on existing approaches and their terminology, in particular on the Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA). While PSIA is more suitable for structural policy reforms, PIA is more a stand-alone approach to assess the poverty outcome at project and programme levels. But it can also help at the initial phase of sector or policy reforms to identify requirements for a full-fledged PSIA. PIA is thus less resource demanding. While a complete PSIA requires more than 100 000 Euro, the estimated cost of PIA is less than 20 000 Euro.

See the PIA Concept Note: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/13/9/38878575.pdf

For more information on Poverty Impact Assessment and POVNET’s work:


2. How PIA works

PIA helps donors and partner countries identify the intended and unintended consequences of their interventions. PIA provides a framework for improving baseline data and monitoring the impact hypothesis during implementation and inputs for ex post evaluations. It formulates recommendations for decision makers on how the intervention might be improved. Ex ante PIA is designed to harmonise approaches. It seeks to avoid both incoherent assessments created by competing methods and often-conflicting demands placed on partner governments.

PIA’s novelty is that it integrates already established approaches, their terminologies and procedures into one modular approach. The PIA consists of 5 modules. In each step the risks, monitoring needs and information quality are assessed and recommendations are made – based on evidence – on how the intervention can be improved.

Module 1: Poverty situation and relevance to national strategies and plans

Module 2: Stakeholder and institutional analysis

Module 3: Identification of transmission channels and overall results by channel

Module 4: Assessment of stakeholders’ and target groups’ capabilities

Module 5: Assessment of results on MDGs and other strategic goals

The PIA modules lead to a picture about possible poverty impacts of specific development projects or programmes. These projects can take place in all kinds of areas of development and need not specifically be directed towards the poor. PIA is a tool to then assess in how far the project does actually impact the poor. Although the tool has useful elements and forces one to think about a multitude of issues that otherwise might have slipped the mind, it is also based on very strong assumptions about linear relations between different situations. The tool asks you to predict poverty impacts based on very little information with little analytical tools. In academic terms, this tool wouldn’t be considered to be a very sound or solid tool for measuring poverty impact. Nevertheless, if it is used to force its users to think more in-depth about the project and its possible outcomes for the poor, it is certainly useful in its own right.

PIA is based on balancing qualitative and quantitative information to achieve a sound and reliable assessment. The level of detail can be determined by the needs of the organisation commissioning the PIA. This might be a quick exercise, based on already available data, or a longer, more detailed assessment, requiring greater consultation and research.

Ex ante PIA holds a number advantages over other forms of impact assessment:

  • It provides a flexible methodology, which can draw on more intensive data collection and analysis where these are available. It also provides useful guidance in their absence.
  • It is based on a simple framework and associated assessment procedures that build on existing methodologies and definitions. It is less demanding than poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA) in terms of data, time, personnel and financial resources.
  • It complements rather than replaces other assessments during the appraisal process, such as log-frame analysis, cost-benefit/cost-effectiveness analysis or environmental assessments.
  • It can be applied to projects, programmes, sector-wide interventions and policy reforms. However, it is not useful for assessing budget support or identifying the poverty impacts of very small projects.
  • It can serve as a framework for monitoring impact hypotheses during implementation and as an input for later evaluation exercises.
  • It provides a flexible level of analysis dependent on the resources available. Should more detailed analysis be required, it can be scaled up to a poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA).

3. Key reading on PIA

Promoting Pro-Poor growth: A Practical Guide to ex-ante Poverty Impact Assessment


This practical guide, developed by the DAC Network on Poverty Reduction (POVNET), is designed to help staff in developing countries and in aid agencies to plan and execute PIAs and to interpret their findings, the ultimate goal being to design and implement more effective poverty reduction policies and programmes. Download: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/46/39/38978856.pdf

Ex ante appraisal of the impacts on poverty of the project ”Plateforme du Millénaire de Diamniadio”


Process documentation of the first Poverty Impact Assessment (PIA) in the Republic of Senegal, by Kerstin Meyer, Andrea Warner, Roland Hackenberg, Nathalie Manga Badji, GTZ, Dakar, June 2007

Sample Mission Report


Ex Ante Poverty Impact Assessment for Regional Economic Development: Green Belt Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Sample Mission Report


Financial Cooperation with Cambodia. Poverty Impact Assessment for Rural Electrification II

Managing for Development Results and Mutual Accountability

The value of evidence based decision-making for advancing cross cutting issues


Workshop on Development Effectiveness in Practice, Dublin, Ireland, 26-27 April 2007

Using Poverty and Social Impact Analysis to design more effective poverty reduction measures


This IPC Focus issue examines the usefulness of two recently developed analytical tools: Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) and Poverty Impact Assessment (PIA). Both approaches provide a framework to analyse the distributional impact of policies, programmes and projects. PSIA involves in-depth analysis of complex policy reform processes and offers evidence-based policy choices. PIA focuses on decisions concerning development projects and programmes. To explore PSIA’s and PIA’s potential contribution to more effective poverty reduction policies, individual articles in this volume.

Lessons learned in conducting Ex Ante Poverty Impact Assessment


Lessons learned in conducting Ex Ante Poverty Impact Assessment for a Natural Resource Management Programme in India Third Round Table MfDR – Hanoi 2007.

Ex Ante Poverty Impact Assessment


Presentation by Wolf M. Dio, GTZ, POVNET Task Team Leader, Third International Round Table MfDR, Hanoi 2007

Poverty (and social) impact analysis compared


PSIA is an approach developed in 2001 by the World Bank and other donors, while the PIA came about in 2006 as a result of discussions within the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The main difference between both tools is that the PIA is designed to focus on project, programmes or specific policy reforms, while the PSIA approach is better for macroeconomic and structural policy reforms. Since PSIA was introduced, approximately 150 assessments have been conducted and the International Poverty Centre (IPC) show that it has been applied with a different degree of success in different occasions. Most of the articles in the journal agree that further progress needs to be made in order to unleash PSIA’s full potential.

As well as the PIA approach, POVNET has recently developed and is actively disseminating guidance for donors on promoting pro-poor growth , including in relation to:




Private sector development:

Social protection:

Poverty and Social Impact Analysis


This World Bank website was conceived as a forum for interaction and a tool for disseminating experience.

Sourcebook on Emerging Good Practice in Managing for Development Results (MfDR)


The Sourcebook is a valuable resource which provides solution-oriented examples of MfDR in action for practitioners at many levels and in many contexts. By focusing on observable and replicable interventions, the Sourcebook aims to increase the understanding of MfDR and illustrate how many stakeholders are effectively implementing MfDR principles for greater development effectiveness.

4. Networks you can use for poverty impact assessment

African Parliamentary Poverty Reduction Network – (APRN)


The APRN was created in 2003 in response to demands by African parliamentarians for a network that would bring together Members of Parliament from all over Africa interested in central issues such as poverty reduction to discuss and share best practices, lessons learned and experiences in that area; as well as to improve their poverty monitoring capacity and increase their policy-making knowledge and build linkages with policy institutes.

Aid Workers Network


Collaborative project set up to provide practical advice for aid workers from aid workers.

BOP Source – The first social network for the base of the pyramid


A social network for the 4 billion people at the base of the economic pyramid, the NGO’s that serve them, and the companies that want to do business with them. BOP Source is an interactive platform for collaboration on productive BOP business ideas, to help companies better understand and reach BOP markets, and for NGOs to help facilitate new relationships between their constituencies and companies.

Business Fights Poverty


A professional network for all those passionate about fighting world poverty through the power of good business.

CROPnet Comparative Research Programme on Poverty


CROP invites poverty researchers and others interested in poverty research to join the CROP network. At present the network holds over sixteen hundred members. Close to half of the members in the CROP network comes from the South and countries in transition. More than one hundred countries are represented, not only Norway.

Development Crossing


A fast-growing network of professionals engaged in corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. The site enables users to create profiles, manage blogs and discussions, create groups and events, and directly network with several thousand professionals around the world.

dgCommunities: Poverty


A free online service by the Development Gateway Foundation is devoted to knowledge-sharing and collaboration for people working to reduce poverty in the developing world.

Eldis Poverty Community


The Eldis Community is a free on-line community where you can meet others involved in international development and discuss the issues that are important to you. Meet other Eldis readers interested in poverty issues. Create a profile for yourself and publish your own research.

Enterprise Development Exchange


This Network links related communities of practice to advance sustainable poverty eradication. It is facilitated by The SEEP Network through the Value Initiative.

European Anti-Poverty Network: Fighting for a Social Europe Free of Poverty!


Since 1990, the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) has been an independent network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and groups involved in the fight against poverty and social exclusion in the Member States of the European Union.

Human Development Resource Net (HDRNet)


A specialised information gateway and electronic library on human development and international co-operation. Part of an international collaborative effort bringing together UN organisations, practitioners and academics from around the world to contribute material relevant to the research and practice of human development. Archives otherwise unavailable material and offers unrestricted access to the documents in English, Spanish, French and Italian.



Brings together a wide cross section of over 200 charities, campaigns, trade unions, faith groups and celebrities who are united by a common belief that 2005 offers a unprecedented opportunity for global change.

POVNET – The OECD DAC Network on Poverty Reduction


The OECD DAC Network on Poverty Reduction (POVNET) promotes economic growth for poverty reduction, stressing the importance of both the rate and the pattern of growth to: create more and better jobs for the poor, including in the informal economy; expand access to social and productive infrastructure, particularly in rural areas where most of the poor live; increase agricultural productivity, which has so often been the key to national development; and promote social protection programmes, which help to make growth work for the poor

Poverty and Economic Policy (PEP) Research Network


PEP brings together and provides scientific and financial support to teams of developing country researchers working to reduce poverty.

Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN)


Non-profit organisation that promotes debate and knowledge sharing on poverty reduction processes and experiences in Southern Africa. SARPN aims to contribute towards effective reduction of poverty in the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through creating platforms for effective pro-poor policy, strategy and practice.

Global Development Network (GDN)


A worldwide network of research and policy institutes working to provide a fresh and relevant perspective to the development challenges of our time.

Wold Bank’s PovertyNet


The World Bank provides an introduction to key issues as well as in-depth information on poverty measurement, monitoring, analysis, and on poverty reduction strategies for researchers and practitioners.

UN List of Poverty Networks


IPC-IG is organizing an online catalogue of Poverty Networks, which are web-based platforms that share development-related information. The aim of this directory is to facilitate the access to development knowledge across our network in 189 countries and help foster dialogue between researchers, policymakers, civil society and multilateral organizations.

5. Training and Events

Perspectives on Impact Evaluation: Approaches to Assessing Development Effectiveness


Egypt, 29 March – 2 April, 2009, Joint conference by NONIE, 3IE and AfrEA, Arab States /

An International Conference in Africa for policy-makers, program managers, evaluators, sponsors and other stakeholders in evaluation and development.

Poverty and Social Analysis E-learning Course


The World Bank’s PSIA E-learning Course provides fundamental PSIA training in three modules:

Module 1. The PSIA Approach — How and When it is Applied

Module 2. The PSIA Approach — Overview of Tools and Methods

Module 3. Implementing PSIA — PSIA Good Practice

CIARIS Learning and Resources Centre on Social Inclusion.


CIARIS has a history of knowledge development on social inclusion issues, people, information and communication technologies. CIARIS aims to strengthen practicioners’ capacity to design, plan, manage and evaluate projects and policies to fight social exclusion and hence promote decent work.

6. Publications

Annual reports by the Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty


As determined by the Human Rights Council, the independent expert will continue to examine the relationship between the enjoyment of human rights and extreme poverty, paying particular attention to issues of discrimination and the situation of women, children, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Chronic Poverty Research Centre Bibliographic Database


The CPRC Bibliographic Database provides a searchable index of publications related to chronic poverty, produced by CPRC and others.

DAC Scoping Study of Donor Poverty Reduction Policies and Practices


The DAC Scoping Study of Donor Poverty Reduction Policies and Practices assesses the performance of development agencies. Development agencies are more determined than ever before to ensure development co-operation results in poverty reduction. The fact that all OECD/DAC Member Governments have signed up to the International Development Goals is the clearest sign of this commitment.

Guidelines for Successful Poverty Reduction in the Work of GTZ


By providing practical advice, the guidelines aim to help mainstream poverty reduction even more successfully in the work of GTZ. The guidelines ofer suggestions, lines of argument, references for further reading, links and methodological pointers that can help us support our partners in reducing poverty sustainably. Practical examples and references to existing GTZ guidelines complement the present guidelines.

Poverty and Social Impact Analysis of Reforms: Lessons and Examples from Implementation


Poverty and Social Impact Analysis of Reforms presents a collection of case studies that illustrate the spectrum of sectors and policy reforms to which PSIA can be applied; it also elaborates on the broad range of analytical tools and techniques that can be used for PSIA. The case studies provide examples of the impact that PSIA can have on the design of policy reforms and draw operational lessons for PSIA implementation.

Poverty-Environment-Gender Linkages


Poverty reduction, economic growth and the maintenance of life-supporting environmental resources are inextricably linked. This document attempts to clarify the key linkages between these areas, with special attention paid to their gender dimension and the policy implicatons at the local, sectoral and national levels. It aims to provide an analytical road-map which could be used a reference for more detailed sector and country-specific examinations.

Using PSIA to Support Development Policy Operations


This Good Practice Note provides advice to World Bank task teams on when, why and how to conduct PSIA as part of preparing a Development Policy Operation (DPO). This note updates the 2004 Good Practice Note by incorporating practical lessons from PSIA implementation over the past three years, as well as comments received during the external consultations held in 2007/08.

What Connects Regulatory Governance to Poverty?


Martin Minogue, Centre on Regulation and Competition Working Paper Series – June 2005

The paper describes the different interpretations of poverty and the interpretation of regulatory governance and examines the possible linkages between regulatory governance and poverty reduction. Relative poverty – meaning falling behind most others in the community – is often even more strengthened by restrictively market-oriented policy formulation that does not take into account the cultural context and the specific understanding and knowledge regarding the inputs and choices of affected parties.

7. Websites you can use for poverty impact assessment

BRIDGE – Gender and Poverty


BRIDGE Gender and Poverty publications include summaries of key materials, good practice cases, lists of tools and checklists and key online resources.

British Library for Development Studies Subject Guide on Poverty


This Guide provides quick access to BLDS resources through pre-designed searches of the catalogue’s 150 000 plus records.

CROP Comparative Research Programme on Poverty


CROP is an international research programme initiated in 1992 by the International Social Science Council. It is now one of the major programmes of the Council. Hosting CROPnet as open network.

Development Gateway – Poverty


Development Gateway topic pages are e-communities led by experts in the development field. They connect partners, members, organizations and other stakeholders by providing opportunities to exchange knowledge, know-how and opinions.

Eldis Resource Guide on Poverty


Eldis Resource Guides provide easy structured access to our extensive collection of research and policy documents. All are editorially selected, summarised and available free to download in full text. Resource guides are intended to help you keep up to date with the latest in development research, policy and practice.

Evaluation Portal by Lars Balzer


At this Evaluation Portal you find hand-picked, human-edited, categorized information about the topic ”evaluation” (and a bit about social science methods).

Focuss.Info Initiative


Focuss.info provides a high quality search engine for practitioners, researchers and students in the area of global development studies. When these websites are available on the Internet, the Focuss.Info search engine indexes the hand-picked websites, with a focus on global development cooperation, and make these websites full text retrievable. In other words: start saving and sharing your favorite websites via social bookmarks spaces, such as Delicious or CiteULike, and report your social bookmark account to the Focuss.Info Initiative.

Free evaluation resources for developing countries.


Gene Shackman created this site to work with a coalition of evaluators and evaluation organizations to provide evaluation, consulting or training resources to organizations and evaluators in developing countries.

Global Donor Platform for Rural Development


Since the creation of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development in 2004, major bilateral and multilateral development agencies are united in a coordinated endeavour to get the rural development agenda right. Donors are committed to achieving increased development assistance impact and more effective investment in rural development and agriculture.

Global Poverty Research Group – GPRG


ESRC-funded multidisciplinary research group providing a framework for collaboration between the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) at Oxford University, and IDPM and CPRC at Manchester University.

Governance and Social Development Resource Centre


Funded by the UK Department for International Development, the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC) aims to help reduce poverty by informing policymaking and enhancing professional knowledge in relation to governance, conflict and social development.

GTZ’s Poverty-related activities´


GTZ supports partners in developing countries as well as BMZ, other ministries and international organisations. This support is focussing on strategies for broad-based growth, the implementation of national poverty reduction strategies, poverty-oriented results monitoring and policy monitoring.

International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), UNDP


Based in Brazil, IPC serves as the nexus for promoting, learning and knowledge sharing on key poverty concerns among developing countries to improve the living conditions of the world’s poorest citizens. The Centre’s mission is to facilitate South-South learning in development solutions by fostering policy dialogue; carrying out policy-oriented research; as well as conducting training and evaluation. Its vision is the attainment of high inclusive growth. See in particular research and publications on social protection and cash transfers.

Methods for Social Research in Developing Countries


Website to make the contents of Methods for Social Researchers in Developing Countries available free to researchers in developing countries, where books are too expensive for faculty, students, or even for libraries to buy.

Poverty Assessment Tools


This IRIS Center Website hosts updates and reports and discussions around developing and recommending poverty assessment tools. It also hosts a Poverty Assessment Tools listserv, where discussions are moderated and conducted with bounded timelines. Summaries of previous listserv discussions are also available.



PovertyFrontiers is a USAID-supported Website dedicated to sharing knowledge and resources on poverty reduction, pro-poor growth, asset-based approaches to development, and poverty-related issues. PovertyFrontiers is also a forum for those involved in poverty reduction to exchange ideas and best practices.

Q-Squared: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches in Poverty Analysis


This Website is a great resource for those seeking information on poverty research, measurement and analysis. Q-Squared aims to promote better integration of qualitative and quantitative poverty research methods. The site links to a variety of commissioned publications presenting good practice in accurate poverty research, as well as information about training, news and events.

Research Methods Knowledge Base


This site is the home page for a number of additional Webpages, each of which provides brief, easily understood descriptions and illustrations of virtually any social research method you might want to use; covers the foundations of research, sampling, measurement, design, analysis, and the process of writing up a research report.

Social Science Information Gateway (SOSIG)


Provides selected, high quality information for students and researchers in the social sciences, business, and law; also provides links to over 50,000 social science Webpages.

Statistical Databases


Provides brief descriptions of and links to a wide variety of databases produced by Statistics Division, UN, and that are available with unrestricted access.

Statistical Sites on the World Wide Web, U.S. Department of Labor


Provides links for online access to statistical and other information from more than 70 agencies of the U.S. government and statistical offices of most countries throughout the world.

The Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC)


This international partnership of universities, research institutes and NGOs was established in 2000 with initial funding from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

UN Secretariat’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD)


The Division seeks to strengthen international cooperation for social development, particularly in the areas of poverty eradication, productive employment and decent work and the social inclusion of older persons, youth, family, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, persons in situations of conflict and other groups or persons marginalized from society and development.

UNEG United Nations Evaluation Group


This site hosts the Country Level Evaluation Database and the UNDP Evaluation Resource Center (ERC). UNEG has many links to external evaluation resources including evaluation associations and societies, international organisations, training resources and governments.

Virtual Resource Centre on ex-ante Impact Assessment


This UNDP website has been launched and is being maintained as one of the components of the regional project on ex-ante Impact Assessment funded by UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Local Government and Public Service Support Initiative of Open Society Institute, Budapest. Under the ”best practices” heading, the Virtual Resource Centre aims to show a selection of key steps and ideas in the ex-ante impact assessment process, drawn from the work of key institutions or recorded in countries implementing the ex-ante impact assessment process in their policy formulation.

Web Pages that Perform Statistical Calculations


Provides over 600 links, including nearly 400 pages that perform calculations, and growing; a source of information on almost anything you might need in conducting analyses and calculations, including links to interactive statistics, free software, books and manuals, and demonstrations and tutorials.