The rigor of case-based causal analysis: Busting myths through a demonstration

This paper focuses on the utilisation of case-based designs for conducting causal analysis and dispelling two misconceptions about their use in the context of evaluation.

Firstly, the resource challenges the notion that case studies are ineffective for establishing causal relationships. Secondly, it debunks the belief that the findings derived from case studies are limited in their generalisability beyond the specific instances. To illustrate these points, the resource delves into a practical illustration of evaluating the World Bank's assistance to carbon finance, specifically examining the creation of Emission Reduction Purchase Agreements from 1999 to 2012.


The paper is divided into three main chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Designing for causal inference and generalisability - The initial section outlines the methodology employed in the evaluation's causal analysis, highlighting key principles in the analysis design that are relevant to causal inference and generalizability.
  • Chapter 2: Analysis - The second section demonstrates the use of both within-case and cross-case causal analyses in the evaluation process.
  • Chapter 3: Illustrate findings - Finally, the third section illustrates how the obtained findings can be effectively integrated into other analyses.

The paper concludes by engaging in a comprehensive discussion regarding the applicability of case-based approaches, shedding light on their inherent strengths and limitations.


Raimondo, E. (2023). The Rigor of Case-Based Causal Analysis: Busting Myths through a Demonstration. IEG Methods and Evaluation Capacity Development Working Paper Series. Independent Evaluation Group. Washington, DC: World Bank.

'The rigor of case-based causal analysis: Busting myths through a demonstration' is referenced in: