Impact evaluation

Beyond income

A critical analysis of agency measurement in economic programming


for market systems approaches

Visit the evidence map
Published by
Market Development Facility
Project implementer
Palladium Group, Swisscontact
Market Development Facility (MDF)
Results level
Poverty reduction
Case study
Data source
Intervention types
Improved access to finance
Improved access to information
Improved input supply
Improved marketing of products
Improved product / service quality
Improved value chain coordination

This paper explores the effect of increased household income on women’s economic empowerment in the context of complex household dynamics.

Intervention description

It seeks to understand how access to economic inputs, information, opportunities or services impacts agency. It extrapolates lessons from data gathered by the Australia-funded Market Development Facility (MDF) which has been operational for six years across five Asia-Pacific countries.

It establishes a foundation framework for understanding agency. It lays the foundations for a tool to be developed that will allow projects to measure agency in a range of contexts. 

The extensive evidence used to build this model has been gathered by MDF teams in the field, and will be used to ensure that it can be practically embedded into Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems. 

Agency and Access in WEE
Agency is typically defined as a woman’s power to make and act on economic decisions.
Access is typically defined as a woman’s ability to access opportunities, goods, information, networks etc.

Evidence methodology

This paper is prepared by drawing from knowledge collected through different partnerships across all five countries of MDF operation.

The information comes from a mix of historical data, gathered over years of intervention management as well as new data gathered through in-depth interviews.

Data from MDF is generated through its results measurement system which has been successfully audited against the DCED Standard for results measurement.

Useful for:

The intended audience includes practitioners, implementers and programmes looking to understand the impact of their interventions on agency and strengthen their WEE programming. 

However, the authors feel that the paper’s relevance extends beyond the development field and encourages engagement, feedback and discussion from all interested parties and professions.