Process Tracing the Policy Impact of ‘Indicators’

D.J.H. te Lintelo*, T. Munslow, K. Pittore, R. Lakshman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, a range of new indices, benchmarking and scorecard tools—also known as ‘indicators’—have been developed to influence public policy and to promote accountability. While subjected to important technical and political critiques, the policy impact of ‘indicators’ is often assumed yet rarely demonstrated. Suitable evaluative methods are in their infancy. This article adopts an innovative process tracing analysis to assess the policy impact of the Hunger And Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) in Bangladesh, Malawi, Nepal, Zambia and globally. We present a rare and empirically rich application of this systematic qualitative evaluative method. We further contribute to the theorisation of ‘indicators’ by positing a central role for equitable producer–user relations in mediating policy impact, and demonstrate that such relations can overcome significant political critiques on ‘indicators’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-1337
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal of Development Research
Issue number4
Early online date18 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Food and nutrition security
  • Impact evaluation
  • Indicators
  • Indices
  • Metrics
  • Policy
  • Process tracing

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