IEE Newsletter No. 31

IEE Publications

Read about new publications from our IEE members


HansenDr. Marc Hansen published his dissertation "Essays on the Theory-Based Impact Evaluation of Projects in Developing Countries"

Research on the impacts of projects in developing countries is characterized by a plethora of diverse approaches from the classical Aid-Growth Paradigm, which evaluates the effectiveness of aid based on its impact on macroeconomic growth, to the popular Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) approach currently viewed as the "gold standard" in impact evaluation inspired by clinical trials in the life sciences. This diversity in methodological and theoretical foundations of impact evaluations nonwithstanding, the global "evaluation gap,"" i.e. the general lack of empirical evidence with regard to the impacts of development interventions prevails. A powerful example of this lack of consensus is found within the aid effectiveness literature (AEL), which applies the Aid Growth Paradigm, and has failed to produce a general consensus on whether development aid is at all effective on a macroeconomic scale, much less on the extent of any potential effect.

An alternative approach to impact assessment, called theory-based impact evaluation (TBIE), has gained traction in recent decades. According to White (2009, p.3) TBIE concentrates on understanding how a project has an impact and thus attempts to clearly establish the causal chain from inputs to outcomes in order to rigorously assess project impacts. This dissertation will argue that TBIEs allows for the establishment of a credible counterfactural scenario and a simultaneous explanation of how a project’s impacts come to be and the quantification of their extent. This will be shown here through three case studies in which TBIE are applied to three different projects to present clear empirically oriented approaches to TBIEs. The selected projects differ in terms of country of operation (Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, and Ghana), project specifics (a CSR project, a land grab, and urban agriculture), and empirical analysis (primary cross sectional data and secondary market data), whith the intention of implementing TBIEs across a range of scenarios thereby testing their general empirical and theoretical applicability.

You can find his dissertation here:


Edited Volumes

Dr. Raffael Beier co-edited a special issue of "TRIALOG - A Journal for Planning and Building in a Global Context":

TRIALOG 135 cover 400x566TRIALOG 135 "Housing and Urban Redevelopment in the Maghreb", edited by Raffael Beier, Gerhard Kienast, Yassine Moustandiji and Sonja Nebel

Since the turn of the millennium, Maghreb countries have experienced scores of ambitious housing and urban redevelopment projects of national as well as international scope. Housing programmes which attempted to address the chronic housing shortage through the construction of new towns and the implementation of resettlement and upgrading projects have exacerbated an urban sprawl that continues to put pressure on urban and peri-urban land. These dynamics have also triggered an aggressive competition for land between 'world-class' urban redevelopment projects and the politically undesired populations threatened by forced eviction. Thus, the relationship between the city centre and the periphery is shifting. While city centres are being beautified and renewed following global ‘world-class’ aspirations, thousands of citizens are being pushed to spatially disconnected new towns at the urban peripheries.

In this issue of TRIALOG, we focus on these urban contrasts as evident in the Maghreb, and particularly visible in Morocco. They are representative of new urban realities in a region that struggles to cope with a volatile economic, political, and social context.

Almost ten years after the beginning of the Arab uprisings, governments throughout the Maghreb region are still under pressure to respond to people’s demands for access to human rights and social justice. In response, Morocco’s state authorities made access to adequate housing a constitutional right and, likewise, uses social housing policy as an effective governmental tool to prevent further uprisings. As such, housing and urban redevelopment throughout the Maghreb region play a primary role in renegotiating the role of the state and in producing new imaginaries of development and modernity at the level of everyday urban life. In this context, the eight articles of the issue focus on three major topics: 1) the making and promotion of 'world-class' urban megaprojects, 2) the failure of housing programmes to achieve their own policy objectives, and 3) the everyday life experience in rapidly changing urban contexts.

More information here:


Journal Articles

BeierDr. Raffael Beier published an article in the TRIALOG special issue on Housing and Urban Redevelopment in the Maghreb (see above):
Resettlement and Persisting Informality in Casablanca (TRIALOG 135, 27-35.)

Based on a black-and-white understanding of formality/informality, many resettlement projects targeting dwellers of informal settlements include the issuing of formal ownership rights as a central element. While the state aims at integrating residents into formal property markets, residents themselves may consider access to housing with de jure security of tenure as a long-awaited recognition of citizenship. However, this paper provides empirical evidence questioning the implicit dichotomy of formality and informality behind such resettlement programmes. Discussing a specific sites-and-services project in Casablanca, Morocco, this paper shows how informality of tenure persists after resettlement and the related attempt to grant formal property rights to relocated residents. Being primarily concerned with the eradication of undesired, visible forms of informality, authorities have kept people in a legal limbo – an urban grey space that denies the full recognition of citizenship.

You can find his full article text here:

NiklasBritta Niklas, together with Wolfram Rinke from the Department of Information-Technology and Information-Management (FH Burgenland, Eisenstadt/Austria), is publishing an article in the Journal of Wine Economics (JWE), Volume 15 / 2020 / No.1 (forthcoming):
Pricing Models for German Wine: Hedonic Regression vs. Machine Learning

This paper sets out to examine whether there are different hedonic pricing models for different German wines by grape variety, and identifies influential factors – focusing on weather variables and direct and indirect quality measures – for wine prices. A log linear regression model is first applied for Riesling only, and then machine learning is used for finding hedonic pricing models for Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir. Machine learning exhibits slightly greater explanatory power, suggests to include additional variables and allows for a more detailed interpretation of results. Gault&Millau points are shown to have a significant positive impact on German wine prices. The log linear approach suggests a huge effect of different quality categories on wine prices for Riesling with the highest price premiums for Auslese and “Beerenauslese/Trockenbeerenauslese/Eiswein” (Batbaice), while the machine learning model shows, that additionally the alcohol level has a positive effect on wines in the quality categories “QbA”, “Kabinett” and “Spätlese”, and a mostly negative one in the categories “Auslese” and “Batbaice”. Weather variables exert different effects per grape variety, but all grape varieties have problems coping with rising maximum temperatures in the winter and with rising minimum and maximum temperatures in the harvest season.

Once published, more information can be found on the journal's website here:


Online Publications

Blog 'Südafrikaperspektive' on the Covid pandemic in South Africa

Knoblich1During the lockdown due to the global Corona pandemic in South Africa, current DAAD lecturers in the country started writing a blog called ‘Südafrikaperspektive’ in which they reflect on the development of the crisis. Blog posts range from insights about daily lives and work, to reports and comments on the overall situation and the measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Our DAAD lecturer at the SA-GER CDR, Ruth Knoblich, contributes regularly to this blog.


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