FAITH & ECONOMICS
NUMBER 69, Spring 2017
Learning toward Transformation: Evaluating Material, Social, and Spiritual Impacts in Western Kenya
Jeffrey R. Bloem
The University of Minnesota
Abstract: Transformational development—integrating the three goals of positive material, social, and spiritual change—is a popular concept among organizations and individuals who work in faith-based development.Despite broad agreement about the theory of transformational development, very little research empirically investigates how to best achieve these goals. By using a difference-in-differences empirical strategy, this study provides an example of a simple yet rigorous evaluation approach for measuring real progress toward meeting the goals of material, social, and spiritual change. This study finds effects after one year that are only marginal in their statistical significance but relatively large in their average impact. Thus, while economically meaningful impacts may be present, this study encounters difficulty with statistical identification due to a relatively small sample size. Nevertheless, this paper provides a useful example, with suggestions for improvement, for future research evaluating transformational development programs.
JEL codes: O12, O20, Q01, and L31