Policy Analysis and Evaluation

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
In comparative terms, the Italian government and policy-making is an example of low analytical capacity - in particular regarding the ability to use data - and of ineffective implementation of public policies. The scientific analysis and the evaluation of public policies offer the tools to reduce this gap, by teaching evidence-based policy-making, coherent policy design, and effective monitoring of the implementation in different policy fields. This course concentrates not only on individual or organizational performance, and on laws or regulations, but also on the processes spreading from the design, the implementation and the evaluation of policies, focusing on how public policies can solve problems that nor citizens nor the market would otherwise solve. The first goal of this course is to offer the methodological skills for the expert, independent and responsible evaluation of public policies. The second goal attains to the understanding of the usefulness of evaluation for the amelioration of the governance in contemporary political systems, by means of understanding mistakes and failures in order to positively affect accountability and policy learning. Finally, the course will offer a realistic picture of the resistance and the skepticism to the professional evaluation of public policies coming from both policy-takers and policy-makers.
Expected learning outcomes
The course aims to provide different outcomes and related skills, such as a) Knowledge and understanding: Provide a balanced and coherent map of theoretical and methodological major perspectives underlying the policy design, implementation and evaluation; Distinguish and integrate descriptive and prescriptive approaches to the policy-making; b) Applying knowledge and understanding: Produce an analysis of a specific policy problem through collaborative group work; c) Making judgements: Read and critique an existing example of policy analysis produced by a public watchdog institution; d) Communication skills: Prepare a short, concise presentation and provide policy recommendations with a clear set of well-documented arguments.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second trimester
Teaching methods
The distance teaching will be held on the Microsoft Teams platform in synchronous mode, according to the schedule of the second trimester.
For attending students, registration to the MS Teams channel and attendance to lessons in synchronous mode will be required, with the possibility of up to a maximum of 9 absences. Furthermore, lessons will be recorded and left available to students on the Ariel website until the end of the course. The slides of the lectures will be made available on the Ariel website of the course and on the website http://www.politichepubbliche.org/avanzato/corso.html
For non-attending students, the lessons will be recorded and left available to students on the Ariel website until the end of the course. The slides supporting the preparation of the exam texts will be made available on the Ariel website of the course and on the website http://www.politichepubbliche.org/avanzato/corso.html
Program and reference material
The exam syllabus and reference material for distance teaching will be the same as normal teaching
Evaluation criteria
The oral exam using the Microsoft Teams platform, according to the different modalities described for attending students and non-attending students.
Course syllabus
Module one (Gloria Regonini)
The approaches of the policy studies
Evolution of the study of public policies
The most important prescriptive and descriptive theories
The policy cycle
Actors and institutions
Typologies of the substantive content of public policies

Module 2 (Gloria Regonini)
The uses of evaluation in different institutional contexts
Dynamics and tensions in the evaluation process
What kind of institutions favor the institutionalization of evaluation in the government and the parliament
Tensions between evidence-based policy-making and "post-truth" politics and policies

Module three (Maria Tullia Galanti)
Mapping types of evaluation
The counterfactual approach and the logic of experimental methods
Diffusion of an evaluation culture and evidence-based policymaking
Prerequisites for admission
The following courses are recommended: Data analysis; Models of governance or Theories and Research Methods for Public Administrations
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons on the topics of the program
Meta-evaluation of a proper evaluation study carried by a public institution
Discussion of examples of evaluation studies
Presentation of a teamwork based on the analysis and the evaluation of a public policy
Teaching Resources
Module one
1. Regonini, Gloria (2001), Capire le politiche pubbliche, Il Mulino, Bologna. A digital copy will be available to the students upon registration on the website http://www.politichepubbliche.org/base/capirelepolitiche.html. Alternatively students can prepare the manual Frank Fischer, Gerald J. Miller, and Mara S. Sidney (eds.) (2007), Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics, and Methods, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, free download online

Module two
1. Perl, A., Howlett, M., & Ramesh, M. (2018). Policy-making and truthiness: Can existing models cope with politicized evidence and willful ignorance in a post-fact world? Policy Sciences, 51(4): 581-600, accessible through the online library

Module three
1. Trivellato, Ugo (2009), La valutazione degli effetti di politiche pubbliche: paradigma e pratiche, Working Paper No. 2009-01, IRVAPP, https://irvapp.fbk.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/FBK-IRVAPP-Working-Pap… . Alternatively, students can prepare Stern, Elliot, Nicoletta Stame, John Mayne, Kim Forss, Rick Davies, and Barbara Befani (2012), Broadening the Range of Designs and Methods for Impact Evaluations, DFID Working Paper 38, London: Department for International Development https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fi…
2. Witting, A (2017) Insights from 'Policy Learning' on How to Enhance the Use of Evidence by Policymakers. Palgrave Communications 3 (1): 49 , accessible from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-017-0052-x
Assessment methods and Criteria
There are no program differences between attending and non-attending students. The differences between the two paths concern the methods of evaluation. For attending students, there will be two intermediate texts and a final oral exam. The final score will result from this scheme:
- first test: teamwork concerning a meta-evaluation of one evaluation study (20% of the totat score)
- second test: teamwork based on a case study (40% of the total score)
- final test: discussion about the texts of the program (40% of the total score)
Attendance and active participation will count for the 10% of the total score.

For non-attending students, the exam is a discussion of the whole program. Details about how to prepare for the exam are available on the website of the course: http://www.politichepubbliche.org/avanzato/nonfrequenta.html
SPS/04 - POLITICAL SCIENCE - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours