Policy Support and Governance

Monitoring Policy Impacts (MPI). The Role of MPI in Policy Formulation and Implementation. EASYPol Series 056

Issue Paper

Monitoring Policy Impacts (MPI) is a policy management instrument, applied to improve the efficacy of policies in reaching their objectives. MPI identifies diversions of reality from plan when they occur, as well as the causes of such diversions, thus allowing immediate corrections, if required, and respective adjustments in policy design and implementation. With its special features – focussing on impacts at policy level, tracing of flaws, timeliness of recording and feed back - MPI is related to but distinct from other conventional monitoring and evaluation concepts, such as implementation monitoring, project and programme monitoring, and evaluations which are conducted ex-post in longer time intervals only.

The purpose of MPI is to find out whether or not policy implementation is “on the right track”, i.e. works towards reaching its objectives. If developments depart from what is intended, it can be due to different reasons: The policy objectives may not have been clearly defined, inappropriate policy measures may have been selected, there might be flaws and deficiencies in policy implementation, or important conditions may have changed since the policy was designed. According to the causes of diversions, different policy impact scenarios are set out.

MPI has become increasingly relevant in recent years, particularly in the context of the new approaches to international development co-operation, moving away from single project and programme assistance towards budget and policy support. MPI can be applied to assess the impacts of macro and sector policies, of particular policies, such as sector investment, market reform, irrigation, food security or gender policies; it can also be applied to trace specific effects of policies which are regarded to be of particular importance.

The specific features, potentials and conditions of an MPI system depend on a number of factors to be taken into consideration when an MPI system is being set up: Existing capacities and possible needs for capacity building, costs and funding, the time frame for impacts to materialize, the choice between quantitative and qualitative approaches to impact assessment, the issue of multiple outcomes and to attribute observed changes to specific interventions, and the condition.

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This paper is part of the FAO Policy series: EASYPol-Resources for policy making (in agriculture, rural development and food security). You can find other EASYPol series' resources in the Resources section of this website, typing "EASYPol" in the free text search.

Published: 2005
Publisher: Metz, M.
Keywords: Policy analysis
Geography: Global