Analysis of the impact of Luxembourg's development and humanitarian policy (CAIPD)

Developing countries face significant structural challenges related to their demographic composition, poverty and inequality, insecurity, political instability, and climate change. In response to these challenges, cooperation and development policy actors are increasingly engaging with the research community to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their interventions. It is crucial that policy decisions, whenever possible, are based on rigorously established evidence or informed by it.

The Research Unit on Impact Evaluation of Development Policies – in French, la Cellule d’analyse d’impact des politiques de développement – was established in June 2022 at the initiative of the Directorate of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs to provide advisory services to the Government and its implementing agency, Lux-Development. Its missions are diverse and include facilitating the collaboration between decision-makers and research teams, conducting research to enhance understanding of the causes and persistence of poverty, improving the targeting of policy measures, evaluating the impact of development policies and cooperation strategies on targeted beneficiaries and development outcomes, collaborating with research and non-research organizations in Luxembourg and partner countries, and organizing training sessions for various stakeholders.

Within LISER, the CAIPD involves Michal Burzynski, Narcisse Cha’ngom, Rana Cömertpay, Adam Levai, Joël Machado, Aline Müller, Michel Tenikue, Mariajose Silva-Vargas, Marc Suhrcke, and Aleksandra Szymanska. In this project, LISER partners with J-Pal Europe and several research institutions in Senegal such as ENSAE-ANSD or the Institut de la Population, du Développement et de la Santé de la Reproduction (IPDSR) in Dakar.


The Research Unit is organised around three distinct methodologies, each focusing on different time horizons and levels of project maturity:

One axis is dedicated to pilot interventions that need to be assessed before possible scaling up. We utilise Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), which involve subjecting a randomly selected subpopulation to pilot interventions and analysing their responses compared to a randomly selected control group from the same eligible population. These comparisons enable the precise identification of the causal effect of the intervention on the treated population, which is valuable before generalizing the intervention to a region or country. RCTs have increasingly become the "gold standard" in impact analyses. This third axis involves a partnership between LISER and JPAL-Europe.

Another axis focuses on sectoral analyses of the impact of development policies/programs using various survey and administrative databases available in partner countries. It aims to provide analyses that guide ex-ante policy choices and conduct ex-post evaluations of policies using instrumental and quasi-experimental methods.

In a third axis, structural models are employed to analyse the vulnerability of regions and countries to climate shocks and conflicts, as well as to predict the impact of development policies in specific locations and sectors. These models facilitate worldwide projections or allow for a focused examination of regions of interest to Luxembourgish cooperation.

A word from the CO-PI's

The Research Unit on Impact Evaluation of Development Policies provides Luxembourg's cooperation actors with quantitative tools for conducting rigorous impact evaluations. These evaluations are crucial for both public and private decision-makers as they contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of their actions and optimizing resource utilisation. Therefore, this research unit perfectly aligns with LISER's mission to promote a culture of evidence-based policymaking through research, as well as training and capacity building focused on the impact of development policies. Currently, the research unit is hosted by the cross-departmental Research Programme on Crossing Borders, which I have the privilege of directing. This allows me to highlight the significant potential of cross-border movements, internal and international migration, in improving global welfare, building resilience against adverse shocks, combating extreme poverty, and achieving sustainable development goals.

—Frédéric Docquier

The Research Unit on Impact Evaluation of Development Policies (CAIPD) plays a key role in providing policy guidance and developing a comprehensive toolkit to enhance impact measurement. Its primary objective is to bolster effective policymaking for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Additionally, CAIPD actively engages in policy dialogues with the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of Luxembourg's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, as well as other development partners, notably Lux-Development, and policymakers in priority countries. This newly established unit revitalises and expands the activities of the former LISER unit on International Development (AFRILUX), which focused on the study of poverty in African countries and conducted research on poverty and living conditions in Luxembourg with a perspective that considered countries significantly affected by related challenges.

—Michel Tenikue