REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and related forest activities) is a climate change mitigation mechanism currently being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It calls for developed countries to financially support developing countries for their actions to reduce forest-sector carbon emissions. In this paper, we undertake a meta-analysis of the links, if any, between multiple and diverse drivers of deforestation operating at different levels and the benefits accruing from and being shared through REDD+ projects. We do so by assessing the nature of this link in (a) scholarly analysis, through an in-depth analysis of the posited relationship between drivers and REDD+ benefit-sharing, as examined in the peer-reviewed literature; and (b) in policy practice, through analysing how this link is being conceptualised and operationalised, if at all, in REDD+ project design documents. Our meta-analysis suggests that while some local, direct drivers and a few regional indirect drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are being targeted by specific REDD+ interventions and associated benefit-sharing mechanisms at the project-level, most national and international indirect drivers are not. We conclude that the growing academic analyses of REDD+ projects do not (as yet) advance viable theories of change, i.e. there is currently little focus on how REDD+ benefits could play a transformative role in catalysing action on drivers.