Handbook of Public Policy Evaluation


Handbook of Public Policy Evaluation

9781800884885 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Frédéric Varone, Professor of Public Policy, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Geneva, Switzerland; and an elected member of the Geneva Court of Auditors, Steve Jacob, Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Université Laval, Canada and Pirmin Bundi, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Evaluation, Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Publication Date: 2023 ISBN: 978 1 80088 488 5 Extent: 442 pp
This comprehensive Handbook examines public policy evaluation in democracies. Focusing on the political dimension of the evaluation process, it argues that policy evaluation can be an emancipatory tool, reducing social inequalities and exclusion, and offers novel suggestions on how evaluations can be used to improve democratic policymaking.

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This comprehensive Handbook examines public policy evaluation in democracies. Focusing on the political dimension of the evaluation process, it argues that policy evaluation can be an emancipatory tool, reducing social inequalities and exclusion, and offers novel suggestions on how evaluations can be used to improve democratic policymaking.

Laying out how evaluation relates to policy design, law-making, performance auditing and policy learning, this Handbook explores how policy evaluation can foster public participation, strengthen governance and enhance democracy. It uses experimental, constructivist and participatory approaches to analyse global case studies, offering epistemological, theoretical, methodological and normative insights. Contributors examine the institutionalisation of policy evaluation in national and international political systems, how to build evaluation capacity, the transformation of evaluation practice through digitalisation, and the challenges posed to evaluators by post-truth politics and artificial intelligence.

This Handbook will be an invaluable resource for academic and professional policy evaluators seeking to deliver effective evaluation processes. It will also be essential reading for students and scholars of public policy, public administration and management, and political research methods.
Critical Acclaim
‘The 26 papers comprising this volume highlight the challenges facing international policy evaluation in an era of misinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories. The authors present an important reconceptualisation of values and beliefs core to the evaluation function. You, the reader, are rewarded with innovative ideas and perspectives. This book is neither boring nor routine. The topical conceptualisation is profound. The effort to read this book is well rewarded.’
– Ray C. Rist, World Bank, US

‘This book offers a panoramic and topical vista of the theoretical and practical dimensions of evaluation. The Handbook of Public Policy Evaluation is more than a “handbook”; it is a reservoir of scholarship providing insights that range from technical and methodological issues on evaluation and evaluative thinking to thoughtful explorations of evaluation’s relationship to our most fundamental democratic values and institutions.’
– Pearl Eliadis, McGill University, Canada

‘In this Handbook, Varone, Jacob and Bundi do not simply propose a relevant overview of policy evaluation. Rather, they go beyond current academic controversies by viewing policy evaluation as a fundamental political activity. Specifically, they propose an original and stimulating perspective presented in 26 fascinating chapters which cover all the facets of this topic.’
– Philippe Zittoun, University of Lyon, France
Contributors: Edoé Djimitri Agbodjan, Omar Ballester, Pirmin Bundi, Tereza Cahlikova, Simon Calmar Andersen, Takunda Chirau, Pierre-Marc Daigneault, Alonso Miguel de Erice Dominguez, Fabrizio De Francesco, Thania de la Garza Navarrete, Ayabulela Dlakavu, Claire A. Dunlop, Frank Fischer, Alexandre Flückiger, Guillaume Fontaine, Alexandre Fortin, Benoît Gauthier, David J. Gilchrist, Ian Goldman, Yousueng Han, Steve Jacob, Peter John, Asela Kalugampitiya, Sabine Kuhlmann, Eva Lieberherr, Gabriela Lotta, Valentina Mele, Donna M. Mertens, Michael Quinn Patton, Valérie Pattyn, Ben Perks, B. Guy Peters, Jon Pierre, Roberto Pires, Patricia Popelier, Claudio M. Radaelli, Lynda Rey, Christine Rothmayr Allison, Simon N. Roy, Fritz Sager, Caroline Schlaufer, Jonas J. Schoenefeld, Simon St-Georges, Paul J. Stephenson, Iris Stucki, Eva Thomann, Jale Tosun, Frédéric Varone, Sylvia Veit


Introduction: putting policy evaluation into its democratic context 1
Frédéric Varone, Steve Jacob and Pirmin Bundi

1 Public policy evaluation: origins and evolution 16
Michael Quinn Patton
2 What role can social constructivism play in realist evaluation?
The potentials and the limits 31
Jale Tosun, Fabrizio De Francesco and Valérie Pattyn
3 Realist evaluation in the policy design framework 47
Guillaume Fontaine
4 Policy evaluation in the legislative cycle 64
Alexandre Flückiger and Patricia Popelier
5 Policy learning and policy evaluation 76
Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli
6 Same, same but different? The expansion of auditing and its
consequences for policy evaluation 93
B. Guy Peters and Jon Pierre
7 The contribution of evaluation to accountability mechanisms 104
Yousueng Han

8 Evaluation and policy argumentation: a deliberative approach, with
special reference to COVID 118
Frank Fischer
9 Participatory evaluation, deliberation and democracy 132
Lynda Rey and Alexandre Fortin
10 Policy evaluation and the reproduction of social inequalities 154
Roberto Pires and Gabriela Lotta
11 Transformative evaluation for equitable and inclusive public policy 169
Donna M. Mertens

12 The institutionalization of evaluation around the globe: understanding
the main drivers and effects over the past decades 187
Steve Jacob
13 Policy evaluation and parliaments 206
Pirmin Bundi
14 Evaluation of and in public administration 220
Sabine Kuhlmann and Sylvia Veit
15 Do courts use policy evaluation? 238
Simon St-Georges and Christine Rothmayr Allison
16 Relevance of evaluation findings in direct democracy decisions 253
Fritz Sager, Caroline Schlaufer and Iris Stucki
17 The role and functioning of evaluation in the European Union 266
Paul J. Stephenson and Jonas J. Schoenefeld
18 Policy evaluation and international organizations 285
Valentina Mele
19 Policy evaluation in the hands of philanthropists and NGOs: the politics
of getting it right 299
David J. Gilchrist and Ben Perks
20 The emergence of evaluation systems in low- and middle-income countries 317
Ian Goldman, Thania de la Garza Navarrete, Asela Kalugampitiya, Alonso
Miguel de Erice Dominguez, Edoé Djimitri Agbodjan, Takunda Chirau and
Ayabulela Dlakavu
21 Evaluation professionalization 337
Benoît Gauthier and Simon N. Roy

22 Nudging and experimenting in a post-truth, post-COVID world 352
Peter John
23 How and when to use field experiments to evaluate public policies 366
Simon Calmar Andersen
24 Evaluation and digitalization: what are the key challenges for
evaluation processes and evaluators? 375
Tereza Cahlikova and Omar Ballester
25 Bringing street-level bureaucrats’ behaviour into policy evaluation 391
Eva Thomann and Eva Lieberherr
26 Evaluation of the non-take-up of public services and social benefits 408
Pierre-Marc Daigneault

Index 425
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