Knowledge Bank

Ex-Ante Evaluation

November 30, -0001, Evaluation Observatory

As the term 'ex-ante’ implies, an ‘ex-ante-evaluation’ is an assessment done to predict the impact of a policy or program prior to its implementation. It essentially helps one answer what might happen if a given policy is implemented?

An ex-ante evaluation is considered critical in the policy formulation phase for three reasons: (a) to identify the optimal policy design to achieve specific targets (b) avoid the implementation of ineffective policies; and (c) provide information on both expected and unintended effects of a policy or program (UNCTAD, 2016).

It is useful tool in selecting the most beneficial alternatives to realize intended project outcomes, and supports the decision making process through a set of logical steps. It also aims to improve program quality by optimizing the use of resources through an iterative process(Samset & Christensen, 2015)

Figure 11: Evaluation of an undertaking at different points in time

List of recommended resources:

For a broad overview

For in depth understanding

Case Study

  • Published by Asian Development Bank, this resource provides practical techniques to policymakers for evaluating the potential economic effects of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). It provides practitioners with methods of ExAnte evaluations for FTAs – namely, (i) Trade indicators, (ii) Software for Market Analysis and Restrictions on Trade (SMART), and the (iii) Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP), and discusses their strengths and limitations.


  • This document is developed by Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA), It provides a list of the major checkpoints in conducting Ex-Ante evaluations (p. 122) and enlists the contents and issues to remember in Ex-Ante Evaluations (p.129).

Further Reading

  • The research paper written by Knut Samset and Tom Christensen explain how Ex-Ante Assessment increases the likelihood of successful project outcomes. The last part of this paper presents an empirical study of 23 projects examining the complexity of processes occurring at the idea- and decision phases.

  • This resource is a part of Symposium on Policy Evaluation in the EU. It focuses on the interface between Ex-Ante and Ex-Post Evaluations, and their contributions to policy learning, with an attention to gender equality using a comparative approach.

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