In 2015-2016 I temporarily replaced Bea Cantillon to redesign and teach the course ‘Society, public policy and evaluation’ at the University of Antwerp (MSc Sociology and MSc Socio-Economic Sciences). This course takes a relatively broad perspective the evaluation of social policies, starting from the definition of public policy, the policy cycle and (potential) role of evidence-based policies, the ethical foundations for evaluating policies, and concepts of causation, up to the development and interpretation of social indicators and the introduction to several less well known research techniques for evaluating policies.
The course is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on the interaction between society and public policy: the policy process, the filosofical foundations for public policy and the determinants of public policy. The second part elaborates on policy evaluation: how do we measure policy impacts, which techniques can be used and what can we learn in particular form microsimulation? The third part starts from specific case studies to highlight policy evaluation in practice. As it is targeted to master students in social science, it presupposes a basic knowledge of social and political philosophy, statistical analysis, social policy, inequality and poverty.
Part 1: Society and Public Policy
- Lecture 1: Setup and introduction to public policy
- Lecture 2: Foundations of public policy
- Lecture 3: Objectives of public policy and the welfare state
- Lecture 4: Better understanding the evolution and development of social policy
Part 2: Policy evaluation
- Lecture 5: Social indicators
- Lecture 6: Policy indicators
- Lecture 7: Causation and public policy
- Lecture 8: Microsimulation
- Lecture 9: Driving factors and decompositions (shift-share analysis, Oaxaca-Blinder, Bargain & Callan)
Part 3: Policy evaluation in practice (guest lectures)
- Jan Verschooten: The Federal Planning Bureau and evidence-based policy-making in Belgium
- Dieter Vandelannoote: The distributive effects of 20 years of tax-benefit reforms in Belgium
- Vincent Corluy: Migration and the welfare state
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