States and multilateral organizations are increasingly assessing the effectiveness of multilateral development organizations (MOs). Assessments vary widely in their definition of effectiveness and their overall purpose. These assessments may encourage organization accountability, foster learning, and inform donor strategies and/or financing. In parallel a large body of international relations (IR) scholarship also examines multilateral effectiveness. Scholars have noted the importance of: commanding stakeholder support, effective delegation and legitimate governance, internal management of the bureaucracy and delivering results on the ground. However, this IR scholarship has not contributed to, nor been cited, in the on-going policy debates. This working paper seeks to bridge the gap between the IR and policy literature on multilateral effectiveness. It draws on a review of the primary and secondary literature, and discussions with expert practitioners and academics on the topic. The paper makes a significant contribution to the field by identifying: how policy and scholars have assessed effectiveness; the challenges of assessing effectiveness; and outlining future research
avenues for scholars to pursue.