Paying for Performance: An Analysis of Output-Based Aid in Education

In 2014-2015, Results for Development Institute (R4D) conducted a scoping study on the potential for output-based aid (OBA) in education for the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA).

The study defined OBA in education as “a form of results-based financing in which service providers are contracted to improve education access and/or quality, especially for disadvantaged populations, whereby service providers assume some degree of performance risk for specific outputs or outcomes upon which payments are contingent.”

This report provides the consolidated findings from the study which included:

(i)  a literature review of results-based financing (RBF) schemes in education,
(ii)  a landscaping and analysis of existing OBA projects in education, and
(iii)  recommendations for applying OBA in the education sector moving forward.

Key findings from the analysis include:

  1. OBA is a versatile tool that can be applied to address issues in education related to access, quality, and system inefficiencies.
  2. Through a range of targeting mechanisms, OBA is well-placed to target those left behind: poor and disadvantaged, girls, orphans and vulnerable children, disabled children or adults, indigenous populations/ethnic minorities, adults lacking a complete education, etc.
  3. Government support and buy-in for the project is often important to determining the project’s likely sustainability. Active engagement with government at the relevant decision-making level was seen to be a determinant for the success of several OBA education projects.
  4. More projects should incorporate evaluations into their design and implementation, especially in education, where the overall evidence base on the effectiveness and impact of results-based approaches remains relatively weak.
  5. Very few OBA education projects have scaled and sustained financially. It is important that projects are designed with future scaling and sustainability in mind and that potential pathways to scale are identified from inception.

The report contains practical lessons learned relevant to implementers, donors and researchers, and highlights education sub-sectors where OBA may have most potential. Download the report above and view the related resources below.

Global & Regional Initiatives

R4D is a globally recognized leader for designing initiatives that connect implementers, experts and funders across countries to build knowledge and get that knowledge into practice.