Logically Constructed Counterfactual

Logical Counterfactual

In some cases, it is not possible to construct a counterfactual by creating a control group or a comparison group, but by constructing one logically.

This could involve using the baseline as an estimate of the counterfactual where it is reasonable to assume this would have remained the same without the intervention.

Process tracing can support this analysis at each step of the theory of change.


The following example comes from White, H., Sinha, S., & Flanagan, A. (2006). A Review of the State of Impact Evaluation Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank. Retrieved from  website: http://www.oecd.org/dac/evaluation/dcdndep/37634226.pdf.

"Sometimes before versus after is valid for impact analysis since attribution is very obvious, so that there is no need for a comparison group.  An example of this is the Finnish water supply project and its impact on time taken to fetch water. The time households spent in fetching water fell once water pumps were located in the village. There is no other feasible causal factor so the before versus after comparison tells us the actual impact."

Updated: 5th November 2014 - 3:40pm


dpante's picture
Dexter Pante

Where can I learn more about Logically Constructed Counterfactual? Are there any websites or books out there?

Patricia Rogers's picture
Patricia Rogers

Hi Dexter,
We've updated the page with a specific example from a published report.

dpante's picture
Dexter Pante

Thanks for the additional information.

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