Sound expectations: from impact evaluations to policy change

Posted on 13 April, 2011 – 8:56 AM

3ie Working paper # 12, 2011, by Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) Emails: vweyrauch@cippec.org, gdiazlangou@cippec.org

Abstract

“This paper outlines a comprehensive and flexible analytical conceptual framework to be used in the production of a case study series. The cases are expected to identify factors that help or hinder rigorous impact evaluations (IEs) from influenc ing policy and improving policy effectiveness. This framework has been developed to be adaptable to the reality of developing countries. It is aimed as an analytical-methodological tool which should enable researchers in producing case studies which identify factors that affect and explain impact evaluations’ policy influence potential. The approach should also enable comparison between cases and regions to draw lessons that are relevant beyond the cases themselves.

There are two different , though interconnected, issues that must be dealt with while discussing the policy influence of impact evaluations. The first issue has to do with the type of policy influence pursued and, aligned with this, the determination of the accomplishment (or not) of the intended influence. In this paper, we first introduce the discussion regarding the different types of policy influence objectives that impact evaluations usually pursue, which will ultimately help determine whether policy influence was indeed achieved. This discussion is mainly centered around whether an impact evaluation has had impact on policy. The second issue is related to the identification of the factors and forces that mediate the policy influence efforts and is focused on why the influence was achieved or not. We have identified and systematized the mediating factors and forces, and we approach them in this paper from the demand and supply perspective, considering as well, the intersection between these two.

The paper concludes that, ultimately, the fulfillment of policy change based on the results of impact evaluations is determined by the interplay of the policy influenc e objectives with the factors that affect the supply and demand of research in the policymaking process.

The paper is divided in four sections. A brief introduction is followed by an analysis of policy influence as an objective of research, specifically, impact evaluations. The third section identifies factors and forces that enhance or undermine influence in public policy decision making. The research ends up pointing out the importance of measuring policy influence and enumerates a series of challenges that have to be further assessed.”

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