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4. Three Dimensions of Performance: How Does Denmark Measure Up?

A number of benchmarking exercises attempt to assess development partner performance according to different criteria – ranging from the “development-friendliness” of their policies to the transparency and quality of their development finance.[13] However, few of these measures of development partner performance take into account the perspectives of those they seek to influence and support: policymakers and practitioners in low- and middle-income countries. In this report, we use the responses to the 2014 Reform Efforts Survey to construct three perceptions-based indicators of Denmark’s performance: (i) influence in shaping a counterpart government’s development policy priorities; (ii) the usefulness of Danish policy advice in designing reforms; and (iii) the helpfulness of Danish development cooperation in implementing reforms.

Participants were asked to rate the usefulness of each development partner’s advice within their domain of expertise on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 signifying that the advice was almost never useful and 5 indicating that the advice was almost always useful. Similarly, participants were asked to rate the influence of development partners on their country’s decision to pursue reforms and their helpfulness in reform implementation on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 signifying no influence or not helpful at all and 5 indicating maximum influence or extremely helpful.

4.1 Whereas other development partners fluctuate across these three dimensions of performance, Denmark performs consistently well across the board.[14]

Compared with a cohort of major bilateral and multilateral development partners, Denmark ranked third in helpfulness in reform implementation (3.493) and fourth in the usefulness of its policy advice (3.683) and agenda-setting influence (2.732).[15] Denmark’s relatively even performance may signal an equal emphasis in engaging with partner countries at various stages of the policymaking process from shaping upstream policy priorities and informing the design of specific reforms, to providing downstream financial and technical assistance during implementation. This finding is also consistent with previous research that establishes a close connection between the usefulness of a development partner’s policy advice, its agenda-setting influence, and the extent of its downstream involvement in implementing reforms (Custer et al, 2015).[16].

Figure 8: Denmark performs relatively well on all performance measures

Figure 8 Notes: The dashed vertical line corresponds to average scores for an average DAC bilateral (excluding Denmark). Error bars indicate +/- one standard error. The usefulness of policy advice is measured on a scale of 1 through 5, with 1 indicating “almost never”, 2 “less than half the time”, 3 “about half the time”, 4 “more than half the time”, and 5 “almost always.” Agenda-setting influence and helpfulness in reform implementation are both measured based on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 indicating the least influence/helpfulness and 5 the utmost influence/helpfulness.

[13] Three prominent examples are the Center for Global Development’s Commitment to Development Index, the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) produced by CGD and the Brookings Institution, and Publish What You Fund’s Aid Transparency Index, to name a few.

[14] Throughout this report, we use as a comparison group the five largest DAC bilateral donors (the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and France), three major Scandinavian donors (Sweden, the Netherlands, and Norway), and three most prominent multilateral organisations (the World Bank, EU and the UN).

[15] We find that Denmark's scores on the usefulness of policy advice, agenda-setting influence, and helpfulness in reform implementation are all statistically higher than an average DAC bilateral's (p-value<0.05).

[16] There is a positive and significant correlation between the usefulness of a specific development partner’s advice and its agenda-setting influence (r = 0.819; p<0.01), and between a development partner’s average agenda-setting influence and its scope of involvement in the implementation of partner country’s reform efforts (r = 0.224; p<0.01)

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This page forms part of the publication "Danish Development Cooperation from a Partner Country Perspective – Evaluation Study, September 2016" as chapter 4 of 7.
Version no. 1.0, 2016-10-04
Publication may be found at the address http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/evaluation_study_september_2016/index.html