Evaluating Development Impact Bonds: A Study for DFID


Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) are a new and potentially exciting aid instrument. They are recognised by DFID as one of three different types of Payment by Results (PBR), alongside results-based aid (RBA) and results-based financing (RBF). These instruments differ primarily in terms of who receives payment from the outcome or ultimate funder, for example, DFID. In a Development Impact Bond, the funder, e.g. DFID, makes the payment to an investor who would have pre-financed the provision of services through the activities of a service provider supported, in most cases, by an intermediary.

DFID commissioned this study, the main purpose of which is to assist DFID, other donors and policy makers to use the most appropriate evaluation approaches and methods for DIBs to enable wider learning. It involved a review of the relevant grey and academic literature and consultations with key informants.

This report is structured as follows. There is first a section which explores the attributes of DIBs and looks at the theory supporting their use. The section that follows explores the strengths and weaknesses of the current evidence base for DIBs and related instruments, such as SIBs. There are then sections on issues relating to evaluations of individual DIBs and how data might be synthesised from these to develop an overall evidence base for DIBs. Finally, there is a section which pulls together lessons learned and recommendations from this exercise.


Drew, R.; Clist, P. Evaluating Development Impact Bonds: A Study for DFID. DFID, London, UK (2015) 62 pp.

Evaluating Development Impact Bonds: A Study for DFID

Published 1 January 2015