PEPA - Programme Evaluation for Policy Analysis
Principal Investigator: Professor Lorraine Dearden
Answering questions about the effectiveness of state interventions in economic and social domains – such as "did this training programme help the participants get back to work?", or "did this child health programme improve children's outcomes?” – is the goal of programme evaluation.
Robust programme evaluation is difficult: researchers have to estimate causal impacts credibly and understand the uncertainty in their estimates, and policy-makers have to determine how best to synthesize and generalise the lessons learned from multiple studies.
PEPA's overall objective was to maximise the value of programme evaluation by improving the design of evaluations and improving the way that such evaluations add to the knowledge base.
PEPA research programme aimed to
- advance our understanding of the value of randomised control trials in social science;
- improve inference for policy evaluation;
- develop the key relationships between alternative methods for policy evaluation;
- combine quasi-experimental methods with dynamic behavioural models; and
- determine how to measure social networks and then use such data for programme evaluation
PEPA also ran a programme of training and capacity building activities.
Impacts (March 2013)
- Research under PEPA has contributed new methods for the estimation of models with endogenous regressors.
- PEPA research has led to the development of a new structural framework for policy evaluation, modelling education choice, employment, hours and human capital formation over the life-cycle under uncertainty and risk aversion. This research has shed new light on the impact of personal taxes and benefits in the short and long run.
- PEPA research is used to support the ex-ante analysis of what the effects of Universal Credit may be.
- PEPA collaborated with Pro Bono Economics to deliver a one day impact evaluation workshop 'Charity impact; working out what would have happened anyway' which was attended by over 40 delegates. The event was part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2012.
For further information about PEPA please see their website. PEPA is based at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and cemmap.