Established in 2004 as a United States Government corporation, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) mission is to reduce poverty by supporting sustainable, transformative economic growth in developing countries that create and maintain sound policy environments. MCC is designed to support innovative strategies and to ensure accountability for measurable results. In 2005, The Millennium Challeng Corporation signed a five-year, $295.3 million compact with the Government of Georgia. This compact was amended in 2008 adding additional fund of $100 million.
The Goal of MCC’s Compact with the Government of Georgia is to reduce rural poverty through better economic performance by improving the two main barriers to economic growth: a lack of reliable infrastructure and the slow development of businesses, particularly agribusiness. NORC and its subcontractor The Urban Institute have been working for the past 5 years with MCC and MCA-Georgia to design, plan, and carry out rigorous impact evaluations for two components of the Georgia MCC program — (1) the Samtskhe-Javakheti Road Rehabilitation activity (S-J Road); and (2) the Agribusiness Development Activity (ADA). For the S-J Road project, NORC is measuring the impact of improvements to approximately 245 kilometers of the major highways in Georgia by conducting statistical and econometric analyses of “before” and “after” household and community economic changes as a result of MCC’s highway upgrades. NORC is using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to construct accessibility indices for all villages in Georgia, as a function of travel-time calculated along digital road networks. ADA consists of three different types of grantees covering critical value chains that supply agricultural products to the domestic market or have export capacity including primary producers, value adders, and farm service centers. It spans a wide range of agricultural activities including fruitss, vegetables, dairy, livestock, fish production, honey, as well as various kinds of processing operations and mechanisation. The impact evaluation will examine the project's effect on rural income and job creation among grantees through an experimental design which included an ongoing randomized selection process for grantees from among qualified applications. Different matching techniques are used to match treatment and control cases before conducting a double difference analysis to estimate the impact on income, revenue, and number of jobs created by the project.
Data collection for the two evaluations consists of multiple large-scale longitudinal surveys. These surveys include: the Integrated hosuehold survey, Agriculture survey, Village Infrastructure ssurvey, Traffic count and speed measurement, ADA Direct and indirect beneficiary surveys, and foreign aid development survey. GIS data and administrative records are also used in support of the analysis. Some qualitative research techniques are also used to enahnce the analysis and support interpretation of impact evaluation findings.
The findings of these evaluations are intended to provide critical information about the effectiveness of specific projects in achieving development goals, enhance the design of development programs, and contribute to a broader understanding of development effectiveness. Discussion about an extension of the contract towards a full impact evaluation to be completed by June 2013 is currently underway.