2017 Evaluation of Aid Description of method

Geospatial Analysis of Aid: A New Approach to Aid Evaluation

Ann-Sofie Isaksson

Recent years have seen an increased focus on results in development cooperation, and a heated debate on the evaluation strategies and effectiveness of development policies. A rapid expansion in the availability of sub-nationally georeferenced data on aid interventions as well as of geocoded data on relevant outcomes and covariates of aid opens for new possibilities in terms of aid evaluation.

The aim of this report is to introduce geospatial analysis as an approach to aid evaluation by discussing data requirements and methodological concerns, including data availability, data limitations, empirical challenges and strategies to deal with these. The report is relevant for policy evaluators, academics and students of development policy.

The report was presented during the seminar Development progress from the bottom up? Improving knowledge of Swedish aid with geo coded data.


  • Not taking advantage of the opportunities geospatial analysis of aid has to offer, and the rapidly expanding geocoded data that is publicly available, would be wasteful. With Sweden being a frontrunner in terms of donor transparency, this appears a reasonable undertaking.
  • From a Swedish development cooperation perspective, taking advantage of geospatial aid evaluation methods requires geocoding efforts.
  • A suitable first step is to screen and compile already available geocoded data pertaining to Swedish aid flows, and incorporate it in the Swedish records.

Ann-Sofie Isaksson, PhD in Economics, University of Gothenburg