Policy Seminar

Evidence-Based Policymaking

Jun 2, 2011 - 12:15 pm to 01:45 pm EDT

Challenges, Methods, and Innovations in Assessing Policy Influence

Research is an important component in the policymaking process. High-quality, policy-oriented research can improve public policy in developing countries and have significant payoffs in terms of economic growth, hunger and poverty reduction, and other development goals. Thoroughly assessing this research is legitimate and in the interest of all stakeholders involved. However, drawing a direct line between research and the results of a complex policymaking process presents a significant challenge.

Assessing the impact of policy research involves two major steps: (1) evaluating the economic, social, and environmental impacts of a policy change promoted by the research and (2) developing a convincing narrative or method to link the research activities to the policy change. The multitude of actors and interests involved in the policymaking process makes attribution, identification, and measurement of outcomes difficult. Also, the many types of research—agriculture, health, infrastructure, climate change, trade, and so on—mean there is no “one size fits all” approach to assessing policy influence.

In this seminar, Fred Carden, director of the Evaluation Unit at the International Development Research Centre, Canada; John Hoddinott, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute; and John Young, deputy director at the Overseas Development Institute, UK, will discuss the need for assessing policy influence, share their experiences, and talk about the challenges of this process.