PEPA research projects will address the following questions.

Microeconometric methods in policy evaluation

The relationship between different approaches to policy evaluation often leaves the user bewildered as to which approach is the most reliable. However, the idea that there is one ideal approach for all policy evaluations is misleading. This project has two main objectives. The first is to establish the key relationships between alternative methods for policy evaluation and advance methods where better identification strategies can be devised. We propose to use substantive applications to training, education, tax and welfare policies to illustrate how to make best use of each method and how to interpret the results of their application to the measurement of policy impact. Second, we will pick up the question of research synthesis and examine how best to combine the results from different studies.

Improving inference for policy evaluation

The objectives of “Improving Inference for Policy Evaluation”, is to develop methods for inference in programme evaluations, and to disseminate these methods and related best practice in the area of inference to social scientists undertaking programme evaluations.

Dynamic Models

This research project aims to develop the tools to go beyond the narrow lessons learned from single evaluation studies and synthesise the lessons learned from a range of evaluations into a better understanding of social and economic behaviour

Social Networks

The study of networks is useful for understanding many types of interaction, such as information transmission, friendship/trust, trade and exchange and responses to programme interventions. The PEPA research will consider the study of networks in relation to programme interventions. In particular, its different strands will consider whether certain programmes have spillover effects on one’s network, and whether the effects of programmes vary depending on one’s network.

Making the most of random assignment: A reassessment of the ERA

The Programme Evaluation for Policy Analysis (PEPA) node is about ways to do, and ways to get the most out of, evaluation of government policies. This strand focuses on randomised experiments, exploiting in particular the experience of a recent large-scale trial in Britain: the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) demonstration.