IFS is involved in assessing the effectiveness of a number of labour market programmes, tax and transfer programmes and social programmes in a variety of fields, from education and training, to labour supply, childcare, health and welfare. Determining whether such policy interventions work and whether their cost is justified is of crucial importance in the presence of limited public resources, and allows policy decisions to be guided by evidence on programme effectiveness.
Estimating the causal impact of a programme is difficult because one can never observe the outcome that programme participants would have experienced had they not participated. Constructing this unobserved counterfactual for programme participants is the central issue that evaluation methods need to overcome. In addition to the evaluation of specific government interventions, our research contributes to the development of econometric and statistical methods to address the evaluation problem.