Hirschman’s Ideas as Evaluation Tools

Main Article Content

Robert Picciotto


Background: Albert O. Hirschman, one of the most distinguished social scientist of the past half century, is not widely known within the evaluation community. Yet he practiced the art of evaluation without acknowledging it and the influential concepts that he generated are extremely valuable as evaluation tools.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to demonstrate by dint of example of example that Hirschman’s ideas illuminate the development experience; inform evaluation methods and have potential as guides to evaluation practice.


Setting: Hirschman’s unique intellectual contributions to our understanding of society have recently been recognized in a flurry of publications that followed his death in 2012.

Intervention: This article did not require an intervention.

Research Design: Three popular Hirschman concepts are dissected and used to explore a variety of evaluation policy issues.

Data Collection and Analysis: Not applicable.

Findings: Hirschman’s mental constructs are interconnected; throw new light on evaluation criteria and can be used to get the most out of the evaluation function in diverse authorizing environments.


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Article Details

How to Cite
Picciotto, R. (2014). Hirschman’s Ideas as Evaluation Tools. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 11(24), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.56645/jmde.v11i24.416
Author Biography

Robert Picciotto, Kings College, London

Former Director General Independent Evaluation Group World Bank