Original Research

Application of game theory and new institutional economics in establishing a National Voluntary Organisation for Professional Evaluation in Nigeria

Denis Jobin, Zachary Lawal
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 5, No 1 | a197 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v5i1.197 | © 2017 Denis Jobin, Zachary Lawal | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2016 | Published: 24 July 2017

About the author(s)

Denis Jobin, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria
Zachary Lawal, M&E Division, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Nigeria


Background: In Nigeria, there is a plethora of evaluators found in the over 90 universities, specialised educational institutions and private research organisations. However, there is limited or no opportunity for networking among the evaluators from similar and different programmatic specialisations. After applying the determinant framework to assess the evaluation capacity development situation in Nigeria, we agree on the importance of supporting the establishment of a National Voluntary Organisation for Professional Evaluation (VOPE).
Objectives: Several leaders in evaluation were competing recently for occupying the national space reserved for a National VOPE. The main objective was to encourage partnership.
Methods: We used a powerful theoretical framework provided by game theory and new institutional economics. We analysed the situation and identified the challenge they are facing as a Nash Equilibrium-of-a-Game View of Institutions: each player knows the equilibrium strategies of the other players and no player has anything to gain by changing only his or her own strategy. This explains why Nigerian evaluation leaders were not able to cooperate for the last two decades.
Results and conclusion: To break this barrier, we proposed a new deal to the leaders that had the advantages of reshaping the ‘rules of the game’. We proposed a federation of associations, akin to a coalition in game theory. The result was that all leaders came together under this umbrella organisation, to celebrate the evaluation year in 2015 and committed under the Abuja Declaration on Evaluation to register and establish an association, with an elected board, a written constitution and election bylaws. The association is governed by a Board of Trustees, which is chaired by the former Minister of Planning. Elections are planned for the end of 2017.


Voluntary Organization for Professional Evaluation; New Institutional Economics; Game Theory; Evaluation Capacity Development


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