Predicting optimal policies for new contexts using existing studies
Programme of work
Increasing evidence use
Development Research Institute, New York University
Pennsylvania State University
January 2020 to April 2021 (TBC)
This study aims to answer the question of how to use the evidence base of a set of high-quality impact evaluations to generate policy recommendations for new contexts that address specific welfare considerations in those contexts?
It will answer questions on how methods based on middle-range theories compare to flexible a-theoretic approaches by representing middle-range theories as structural economic models of behaviour fitted to pre-existing experiments and descriptive data. These models generate predictions for various counterfactual scenarios that can inform policy recommendations.
Develop a policy recommendation methodology that uses impact evaluation microdata from various contexts to formulate recommendations for new target contexts.
This will be done by investigating the performance of five prediction methods; three in the a-theoretic category, and two middle-range theoretical models. The methods will be evaluated using a ‘leave one out’ approach.
Microdata from seven experimental evaluations of conditional cash transfer programmes.
This project will develop methods for evaluating the quality of recommendations derived from various methods in terms defined by welfare considerations in a target context. It aims to develop an ‘engine’ that takes both a policymaker’s preferences and an evidence base as inputs and then generates a policy recommendation for a specific target context.