T07P06 - Evidence-based Policy Making and Policy Evaluation

Topic : Policy Design, Policy Analysis, Expertise and Evaluation

Panel Chair : Giancarlo Vecchi - giancarlo.vecchi@polimi.it

Panel Second Chair : Hiroko Kudo - hirokokd@tamacc.chuo-u.ac.jp

Panel Third Chair : mita marra - mimarra@unisa.it

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Objectives of the Panel

The objective of the panel is to develop stronger relations between evaluation research and public policy analysis, recognising at same time the differences of the two sub-disciplines (Geva-May and Pal; Weiss). The aim is to help evaluation in taking advantage from the studies of the policy process to  improve its use by decision-makers.

 In the last decades, evaluation scholars devoted strong emphasis and efforts in the debate about methodologies; the discussions concerning qualitative and quantitative approaches appear now passed, with efforts to deal with the complexity of policies using mixed methods.

In any case, the policy evaluation literature – both oriented to policy making and to knowledge development (Mark and Henry) seems to lack, often, systematic connections and exchanges with the researches of the different policy analysis fields; for example, the studies devoted to the analysis of policy change, policy design and instruments, and policy implementation.

With the aim to develop a fruitful integration between these two sides, the panel wants to deeper themes that can be eventually discussed in different workshops.

Scientific Relevance

The debate on ‘Evidence-based policy’ underlines the issue concerning the role of social science in supporting the policy-making processes e the design of public programmes.

The reflection of many scholars is often translated in methodological terms, and the conclusion is oriented to the adoption of approaches that improve the reliability of the causal inferences that sustain the attribution of an outcome to a programme; and the preference of the RCT designs is quite often the result.  Indeed we need to sustain a wider pluralism and expansion in the use of social science techniques in evaluation (Stoker and Evans; Bastow et al.). For example, it is important obviously to collect evidences on ‘what works’ about public programmes, but at the same time policy makers and citizens are interest in the transferability issue, i.e. the effectiveness of a programme if implemented in another site; in that case we need to add to the ‘what works?’ questions regarding ‘what works, for whom, in what context’, the mechanism at the base of the observed changes, the reasons for the success of the winners and the failure of the losers, the implementation gaps, etc. (Pawson).

Evidence-based policy represents a challenge for policy evaluation because underline the theme of the impact of the evaluation researches on decision-makers.

References

Bastow S., P. Dunleavy and Tinkler J. 2014. Measuring the Impact of Social Sciences. Research in UK Central Government Policy-Making. London: LSE.

Geva-May I. and L.A. Pal. 1999. “Good Fences Make Good Neighbours. Policy Evaluation and Policy Analysis – Exploring the Differences.” Evaluation 5(3).

Mark M.M. and G. T. Henry. 2006. “Methods for Policy-Making and for Knowledge Development Evaluations.”  In Shaw, Green and Mark (eds).  Handbook of Evaluation. London: Sage.

Pawson R. 2013. The Science of Evaluation. London: Sage.

Stoker G. and Evans M. 2016. Evidence-based policy making. Methods that Matters. University of Bristol: Policy Press.

Weiss C. 1999. “The Interface between Evaluation and Public Policy.” Evaluation 5(4): 468-486.

Call for papers

The debate on ‘Evidence-based policy’ underlines the issue concerning the role of social science in supporting the policy-making processes e the design of public programmes.

The reflection of many scholars is often translated in methodological terms, and the conclusion is oriented to the adoption of approaches that improve the reliability of the causal inferences that sustain the attribution of an outcome to a programme; and the preference of the RCT designs is quite often the result.  Indeed we need to sustain a wider pluralism and expansion in the use of social science techniques in evaluation. For example, it is important obviously to collect evidences on ‘what works’ about public programmes, but at the same time policy makers and citizens are interested in the transferability issue, i.e. the effectiveness of a programme if implemented in another site; in that case we need to add to the ‘what works?’ questions regarding ‘what works, for whom, in what context’, the mechanism at the base of the observed changes, the reasons for the success of the winners and the failure of the losers, the implementation gaps, etc.

The objective of the panel is to improve the impact of programme evaluation on the decision makers, avoiding the risk of policy-based evidences, developing a better conceptualization of collective problems and the feasible paths of solution.

We invite paper-givers to propose both theoretical and empirical contributions regarding three themes:

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