Do Public Works Programmes Work? A systematic review of the evidence from programmes in low and lower-middle income countries in Africa and the MENA region

The trend for conducting rigorous impact evaluations of development interventions has prompted many researchers to start looking more closely at public works programmes (PWPs). This systematic review summarises lessons of all robust impact evaluations conducted in low and lower middle income countries in Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

First and foremost, the review underlines how little we know about the effectiveness of PWPs and especially about the impact of the assets that are created within these programmes. As long as strong evidence on the effectiveness of PWPs remains absent, there is little reason to favour them over simple cash transfer programmes.