Marie Gaarder

Email: mgaarder(at)3ieimpact(dot)org

Executive Director

Marie Gaarder

Dr Marie Gaarder is the executive director of 3ie, leading the organisation’s efforts to improve lives in low- and middle-income countries by supporting the generation and effective use of high-quality and relevant evidence to inform decision-making.  

Marie has over 25 years of experience managing operational and research projects with a development focus. In her previous role in 3ie, as director for evaluation and global director for innovation and country engagement, Marie provided strategic direction and guidance to 3ie’s work in evaluation and synthesis. Prior to joining 3ie, she was a manager in the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group, overseeing thematic, sector, corporate and project evaluations. She has also worked as the director of the evaluation department at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, where she was in charge of independent evaluation of programmes and activities financed over the Norwegian aid budget. Prior positions include being the deputy executive director of 3ie during the institution’s start-up years, and a senior social development economist at the Inter-American Development Bank, specialising in social protection and health programs in Central America. Marie has published extensively, including on the evaluation of cash transfer programs, evaluation in fragile and conflict-affected states, and how to increase the accountability for evidence use and for outcomes among development agencies and governments. A list of publications and reports is available below.

Marie is the co-chair of the International Development Coordinating Group within the Campbell Collaboration, a member of the Research Ethics Review Committee of the Partnership for Economic Policy, a member of the DFID-CDC Evaluation & Learning Programme Steering Group, and a member of the WFP’s impact evaluation Strategic Advisory Panel (SAP).

Marie holds a PhD in Economics from University College London, an MSc in Economics from London School of Economics and a graduate degree in Political Science, Arabic and Economics from the University of Oslo, Norway.

  • Goel, N., Khatua, S., and Gaarder, M. (forthcoming, 2019), Making data reusable: lessons learned from replications of impact evaluations, PLOS ONE.
  • Jeffrey, A., Dahlgren, A., Barends, E., Boruch, R., Brennan, M., Chalmers, I., Chislett, J.,  Cunliffe-Jones, P., Haines, A., Heneghan, C., Gaarder, M., Matthews, R., Maynard, B., Randall, N., Oxman, A.,  Oxman, M., Pullin, A., Roddam, H., Schoonees, A., Sharples, J.,  Stewart, R., Stott, J., Tallis, R., Thomas, N.,  Vale, L. (2019, forthcoming). Key concepts for making informed choices. Nature. 2019 Aug;572(7769):303-306. doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-02407-9.
  • Waddington, H., Sonnenfeld, A., Finetti, J., Gaarder, M. and Stevenson, J (2019), Participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability (PITA) to improve public services in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review. 3ie Systematic review 43, 2019
  • Gaarder, M. (2019), A commentary to ‘Bridging to Action Requires Mixed Methods Not Randomised Control Trials’, European Journal of Development Research, 31: 169.
  • Gaarder, M. and Dixon, V. (2018), Misdiagnosis and the evidence trap: a tale of inadequate program design. 3ie blog:
  • Gaarder M, Barooah, B, Goel, N, Lahore, S, Lopez-Avila, D, Jimenez, E, and Harten, S, 2018. RCTs and rural development – an abundance of opportunities. Forthcoming in Rural21.
  • Kelly, L and Gaarder, M, 2017. Third Party Monitoring in Volatile Environments - Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks? 11 July 2017. IEG Blog. Available at:
  • Gaarder, M, 2016. We come in peace! (from ‘Mars Attacks!’).  22 November 2016. IEG Blog. Available at: <>
  • Strand, J and Gaarder, M, 2016. Getting more Bank for the buck. 27 April 2016. World Bank Blog. Available at: <>
  • Snilstveit, B, Vojtkova, M, Bhavsar, A, Stevenson, J and Gaarder, M, 2016.  Evidence & Gap Maps: A tool for promoting evidence informed policy and strategic research agendas. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 79, pp. 120–129.
  • Gaarder, M and Bartsch, U, 2015.  Creating a market for outcomes: shopping for solutions. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 7(3), pp. 304-316.
  • Gaarder, M and Bartsch, U, 2014. Who cares about development outcomes? market failures and the role of the evaluation function. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 6(4), pp. 361-377.
  • Gaarder, M, and Annan, J, 2013. Impact evaluation for peacebuilding: challenging preconceptions. In: OW, Andersen, M, Kennedy-Choane, and B, Bull eds. Evaluation methodologies for aid in conflict, Routledge.Ch.7.
  • Gaarder, M, and Annan, J, 2013. Impact evaluation of conflict prevention and peacebuilding interventions, Policy Research Working Paper 6496, World Bank.
  • Masset, E, Gaarder, M, Beynon, P and Chapoy, C,2013. What is the impact of a policy brief? Results of an experiment in research dissemination. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 5(1), pp. 50-63.
  • Beynon, P, Gaarder, M, Chapoy, C and Masset, E, 2012. Passing on the Hot Potato: Lessons from a Policy Brief Experiment. IDS Bulletin, 43, pp. 68–75.
  • Gaarder, M, 2012. The impact of cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. June 2012. The Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) forum. Available at: <>
  • Gaarder, M, 2012. Conditional versus unconditional cash: a commentary. Journal of Development Effectiveness,4(1), pp. 130-33
  • Davis, B, Gaarder, M, Handa, S and Yablonski, J, 2012.Evaluating the impact of cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa: an introduction to the special issue. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 4(1), pp. 1-8.
  • Gaarder, M and Briceño, B, 2010. Institutionalisation of government evaluation: balancing trade-offs. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 2(3), pp. 289-309
  • Gaarder, M, 2010. Special section introduction: conditional cash transfer programs: opening the black box. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 2(1), pp.1-5.
  • Gaarder, M, Glassman, A and Todd J, 2010.Conditional cash transfers and health: unpacking the causal chain. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 2 (1), pp.6-50.
  • Gaarder, M and White, H, 2009. The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie): an introduction. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 1(3), pp.376-86.
  • Glassman, A, Todd, J and Gaarder, M, 2007. Performance-based incentives for health: conditional cash transfer programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. Center for Global Development Working Paper #120.
  • Gaarder, M, 2003. The Distributional effects of Illness when recuperation is endogenous. Economics and Sector Study Series, RE2-03-004, Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Maddison, D and Gaarder, M, 2002. Quantifying and valuing life expectancy changes due to air pollution in developing countries.  In: D, Pearce, C, Pearce and C, Palmer eds. Valuing the Environment in Developing Countries, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK.
  • Gaarder, M, 2002. Can population characteristics account for the variation in health impacts of air pollution? A meta-analysis of PM10-mortality studies. CSERGE Discussion Paper, Available at:<>


Below are some of the large evaluation reports that have been initiated and/or produced under my supervision and quality assurance:

  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2017. Data for Development: An Evaluation of the World Bank Support for Data and Statistical Capacity.
  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2017. Results and Performance of the World Bank Group 2016.
  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2017. Higher Education for Development: An Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s Support for Higher Education.
  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2016. Results and Performance of the World Bank Group 2015.
  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2016. Behind the Mirror: A Report on the World Bank Group’s Self-Evaluation Systems
  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2016. WBG Engagement in Situations of Fragility, Conflict, and Violence
  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2016. Program for Results: An Early-Stage Assessment of the Process and Effects of a New Lending Instrument
  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2015. Learning and Results in World Bank Operations. Evaluation II
  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2015. World Bank Group Support to Electricity Access, FY2000–FY2014
  • Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank (IEG/WGB), 2014. Learning and Results in World Bank Operations. Evaluation I
  • Norad, 2014/1. Can We Demonstrate the Difference that Norwegian Aid Makes? Evaluation Report
  • Norad, 2014/7. Impact Evaluation of the Norway India Partnership Initiative Phase II for Maternal and Child Health – Baseline. Evaluation Report.
  • Norad, 2013/4. Evaluation of Five Humanitarian Programmes of the Norwegian Refugee Council and of the Standby Roster NORCAP. Evaluation Report.
  • Norad, 2012. Use of Evaluations in the Norwegian Development Cooperation System
  • Norad, 2012. A Study of Monitoring and Evaluation in Six Norwegian Civil Society Organisations.
  • Norad, 2012. Evaluation of Norwegian Development Cooperation with Afghanistan 2001 – 11
  • Norad, 2012. Evaluation of the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund (HRITF)