In July of 2011, the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) made the World Bank Project Performance Ratings database available to the public. With global coverage and spanning the range of sectors important for economic development, these data are a valuable resource for research about development effectiveness, what works and what does not. This paper first provides a brief overview of the IEG’s rating process and the classifications used by the World Bank that may help scholars interested in evaluation, but unfamiliar with World Bank terminology, to use and interpret the database. Second, this paper examines whether geopolitical or institutional factors influence project performance assessments. We focus on how IEG selects projects for performance assessments and what factors influence project ratings in those assessments. We find some evidence that bureaucratic factors influence selection but only one geopolitical variable - UNSC non-permanent membership - influences IEG ratings.