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Chapter 18. An Overview of the Panel Discussion: Evaluating Local Economic and Employment Development

Chapter 18. An Overview of the Panel Discussion: Evaluating Local Economic and Employment Development

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18.



AN OVERVIEW OF THE PANEL DISCUSSION



A



listair Nolan of the OECD/LEED Secretariat introduced the final panel

debate. The initial questions he posed were: “What is the current state of

government commitment to evaluation? Does the present situation need to be

improved on? If so, how?” Nolan said that the debate should focus primarily

on practical and policy problems associated with evaluation projects. He said

the panelists had been asked to each give opening remarks, and that after that

he would open the session for questions. The ensuing debate served to

illustrate the importance of a number of the technical and policy issues raised

in the other conference presentations.

Edward W. Hill, a professor at Cleveland State University in the United

States, led off by outlining what he saw as key themes for the debate:







The definition of a local economic development policy and its outcomes.







The differences between process and summative evaluations and ways in

which each of these were helpful when running programs versus when

thinking about the causal structure of programs.



The problems associated with the fact that local evaluations are not

usually done at the local level.

Hill pointed out that employment policy and economic development are

different. He called attention to the challenge of distinguishing labor policy

from labor investment, and development spending activities from financial

investment in a community context. He felt that more attention should be

paid to whether policies had to do with the demand or the supply side of the

economy. He also argued against treating labor policy as simply an instrument

of economic development. From an economic development perspective, he

saw firm profitability as a problematic measure that primarily reflected

accounting and national tax code considerations. He cited the Enron disaster

as an indication of some of the shortcomings of focusing on firm profitability.

He suggested that firm survival rates and product innovation measures that

took account of the product life cycle might provide a better basis for

producing indicators that would be helpful for economic development

purposes. He argued also that income and employment growth measures

should be given more prominence in local economic development planning

since these reflect the equilibrium of demand and supply in markets.

The Rt. Hon. Henry B. McLeish, a Member of the Scottish Parliament and

former First Minister of Scotland, was the next to speak. He noted what he saw



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as an erosion of confidence in evaluation and economic development. He felt too

that confusion had developed concerning evaluation outcomes and processes. He

urged that greater care be taken to make the process of knowledge transfer

simple and transparent. He urged those embarking on pilot projects to keep

three objectives in mind. The first was to use the information gained from

evaluations to reshape the evaluation projects. The second was to carefully

think through how to measure the success of a project at completion. And the

third was to find ways to apply tangential project developments to improve

other aspects of public policy and processes beyond the intended project

objectives.

In closing, McLeish noted that policy makers have an inevitable tendency

to try to guard the details of evaluation processes, and that political interface

of this sort typically is not as transparent as he feels would be desirable. Also,

he said that learning (human capital) is a crucial factor for economic

development. He said too that quality of life is a dimension that has not been

adequately recognized, and argued that quality of life is not properly reflected

by the main measures of economic development that are currently in use.

The next panelist to speak was Stephen Wandner from the US

Department of Labor. Wandner stated that he would highlight key

distinguishing features of the US employment and training programs. He then

went on to say that a distinguishing strength of public programs in the United

States is that evaluation is a mandated and integral component. He cited the

example of the Language and Workforce Investment Act passed in 1998,

which called for the implementation of an evaluation process to properly

assess the degree of success achieved in realizing the central objectives of the

Act. He said that this evaluation process made use of control groups and a

scientific random assignment methodology. He explained that modern

evaluations of this sort in the United States were an open process. He

explained that this openness included giving the public the right to see

everything from the data collected (after suitable measures had been taken to

project the privacy of individuals) to the interim evaluation reports to the

finalized studies. These materials are available to the public, including, of

course, the university research community. He acknowledged that, inevitably,

not everyone within the policy and research communities liked all aspects of

how the evaluations were conducted or the conclusions drawn in the resulting

reports. However, he said that it was accepted in the United States that

properly conducted evaluations and open access to the information generated

by these is essential for informed debate of the issues facing society and that,

in this information age, openness of this sort is both a testament to and an

essential aspect of the strength of the US political system.

Alice Nakamura, a professor at the University of Alberta School of Business

in Canada, spoke next. She strongly endorsed Wandner’s remarks about the



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importance of evaluation and open access to evaluation data sources and

results. She said that Canada had also had some very favorable experiences

with this approach, which she said had been pioneered in Canada in the late

1980s and the early 1990s by Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).

HRDC is the Canadian federal government department responsible for the

Canadian social insurance program for unemployed workers (formerly

Unemployment Insurance, or UI, and now Employment Insurance, or EI, since

the passage of Bill C-12 in 1996). She said that HRDC had led the way, in

partnership with Statistics Canada, with the development of data resources for

evaluating UI/EI programs and by establishing mechanisms allowing

researchers outside the government to have access to these data resources.

Nakamura said that HRDC had also provided intellectual leadership and

financial support for the formation of a large network, the Canadian

Employment Research Forum (CERF), consisting of university as well as

government based researchers with methodological expertise in the areas of

program evaluation and employment and earnings analysis. She said that this

HRDC initiative had succeeded in redirecting the attention of university based

scholars in Canada toward Canadian program evaluation. Before the

formation of CERF, Canadian academic researchers interested in program

evaluation mostly had worked with US data. She said that, in addition to

improving the quality of the information for program development in Canada,

the HRDC data and research network initiatives had greatly improved the

substantive quality of the information about the Canadian UI/EI program that

was being delivered in Canadian university classrooms by professors. Indeed,

this HRDC initiative has delivered substantial tangential benefits of the sort

that McLeish talked about.

The last of the panelists to speak was Professor Philip Davies of the

Cabinet Office in the United Kingdom. He argued that in the United Kingdom

there had been something of a renaissance of “evidence-based policy”. He said

that several recent reports had come out that showed an increase in

institutional arrangements and funding for policy evaluations. Davis also

mentioned that over the previous five years there had been an enormous

proliferation of research in the evaluation industry. He then went on to

recommend several improvements that he felt should be made in how

evaluation project information was disseminated in non-academic settings.

He had suggestions for rewarding employees for following evaluation

guidelines on methods for using data that had been accumulated from

evaluation projects, and on handling the time pressures that he saw as

inevitable for government-funded projects. He also had suggestions for

strategically allocating funding for research. He concluded his remarks by

noting three orders of integration that he saw as necessary in order for the

value of evaluations to policy makers to be maximized. The first of these was



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the integration of policy evaluations in the sense of looking at the economic,

social, environmental, distributional, and risk assessment outcomes in an

evaluation. The second was the integration of methodologies including those

for multilevel evaluations incorporating both supra and sub-national data. And

the third was the integration of policy design and implementation in the

evaluation context.

Following the initial remarks of the panelists, the discussion was opened

up with questions from both Nolan and the audience. The initial round of

questions raised the following issues about the role of a central governing

authority:





Where is the impetus going to come from for improving evaluation at the

local level?







Must it come from the center?







Must it involve the mandating of evaluations and the right incentives to

encourage a higher quality of evaluation?



In response, Wandner gave the example of the Workforce Investment Act.

He said that the Department of Labor had met with state officials and had

encouraged them to build evaluation capacity. However, he admitted that

capacity constraints had continued to be a problem in some states, including

a number of the smaller ones. McLeish said he felt that at the local level there

was less of an established culture of progressive evaluation. He felt that the

culture in many localities needed to be changed so that there was less of a

focus on the outcomes of projects and more attention to the processes

adopted in these projects and to the innovations involved.

Hill argued that it was important to bear in mind the sources of funding

for evaluations. He also suggested that, at the local level, summative

evaluations were less important than process evaluations.

Nakamura suggested that there might be a potential business interface

for local evaluations. She said that many businesses undertook their own local

evaluations on a regular basis, though she acknowledged that businesses

seemed to be more interested in process than in summative evaluations.

Davies felt that having the same governing party have the ownership of the

local development problems and the evaluation evidence helped to align the

incentives for evaluators.

In sharing evaluation stories, it became clear that there had been a

remarkable range of successful applications in a number of countries.

Finally, attention was paid to how public access to evaluation data and

reports could be facilitated while also protecting the privacy of individuals. It

seemed clear that there would be ongoing tensions between political instincts

and the imperatives of informed program analysis in an information age. It



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also seemed clear that, whereas the US seemed to have moved ahead to make

public access to evaluation data and reports a priority, there were many other

countries where this had not happened.

There was also discussion about finding ways to improve the

communication of evaluation information to the mass media. This discussion

followed up on Hill’s earlier remarks about the importance of approaching

different audiences in different ways. Hill added that government

departments needed to put in place formal communications strategies from

the beginning of evaluation projects.



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ISBN 92-64-01708-9

Evaluating Local Economic and Employment Development

How to Assess What Works among Programmes and Policies

© OECD 2004



About the Authors and Contributors

Dr. Timothy Bartik

Timothy J. Bartik is senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for

Employment Research, an independent non-profit and non-partisan research

organisation in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. He received his Ph.D. in Economics

from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982. Dr. Bartik was Assistant

Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University prior to joining the Institute

in 1989. At the Institute, Dr. Bartik is responsible for conducting research on

state and local economic development policies, local labor markets, and urban

poverty problems. He has written two books: “Who Benefits from State and

Local Economic Development Policies?” (Upjohn Institute, 1991), and “Jobs for

the Poor: Can Labor Demand Policies Help?” (New York: Russell Sage

Foundation, 2001). Among his numerous scholarly articles are: “Strategies for

Economic Development”, in the book “Management Policies in Local

Government Finance” (edited by J.R. Aronson and E. Schwartz); “Michigan’s

Economic Development Policies” (with P. Eisinger and G. Erickcek) in the book

“Michigan at the Millennium” (Michigan State University Press, 2003);

“Spillover Effects in State Labor Markets of Welfare Reforms”, in the Journal of

Regional Science in November 2002; “Can Economic Development Programs Be

Evaluated? (with R. Bingham) in the book “Dilemmas of Urban Economic

Development” (Sage Publications, 1997); and “Who Benefits from Local Job

Growth, Migrants or the Original Residents?” in the journal Regional Studies

(September 1993).

W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

300 S. Westnedge Avenue

Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007

USA

Tel.: +1 (616) 385 0433

Fax: +1 (616) 343 3308

E-mail: BARTIK@we.upjohninst.org

***



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ABOUT THE AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS



Professor Daniele Bondonio

Daniele Bondonio is Assistant Professor at the Università del Piemonte

Orientale, Alessandria, Italy. He teaches courses in econometrics and

quantitative methods for program evaluation and public policy analysis at the

Università del Piemonte Orientale and the Università di Torino. He received a Ph.D.

in public policy analysis and management from Carnegie Mellon University,

Pittsburgh, USA, where he was visiting scholar in 2001, and a B.A. cum laude

in economics from the Università di Torino. Professor Bondonio’s primary

research interests focus on impact evaluations of local economic development

and geographically-targeted business incentive programs. His Ph.D.

dissertation, which analyzes a number of State Enterprise Zone Programs in

the US, received the National Science Foundation doctoral dissertation research

grant and the Department of Housing and Urban Development doctoral

dissertation research award. His recent publications focus on impact

evaluations of EU business incentive programs in industrially declining areas,

investment subsidies targeted to youth-owned firms and methods to

comparatively evaluate economic development programs heterogeneously

implemented across different regions or states. Professor Bondonio has also

produced consulting reports for Italian regional governments and he is part of

The Evaluation Project in Torino, Italy, aimed at promoting impact evaluation

practices in public administration.

Department of Public Policy and Public Choice

Università del Piemonte Orientale

Via Cavour 84

15100 Alessandria

Italy

Tel.: +39 011 533191/0131 283712

Fax: +39 011 5130721

E-mail: daniele.bondonio@sp.unipmn.it

***



Dr. Paola Casavola

Paola Casavola received a Law Degree from the University of Naples, Italy,

in 1986, a Master of Science in Economics from the London School of

Economics in 1989 and a Doctorate in Economics from the University of

Naples, Italy, in 1991. From 1991 to 1999 she has worked as an economist in the

Research Department (Servizio Studi) of the Central Bank of Italy in Rome and

done research mainly on labour market, local development and corporate

governance. Since mid-1999 she has worked in the Evaluation Unit (UVAL) of

the Department for Development (DPS) of the Italian Ministry of the Economy



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ABOUT THE AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS



(MEF). Within the Evaluation Unit, as coordinator of the Programme

Evaluation Area, she is responsible for a set of activities directed at building

and disseminating methodological tools for programme evaluation and for the

management of evaluation projects. Within the Department for Development

she is member of the coordination committee for the Annual Report on

Territorial Policies. She also continues her research work on labour market

and local development policies.

Dipartimento per le Politiche di Sviluppo e Coesione

Unità di Valutazione

Via Nerva 1

00187 Rome

Italy

Tel.:+39 06 4761 9079

+39 06 4761 9040 (secretary)

Fax: +39 06 4761 9037-47619075

E-mail: paola.casavola@tesoro.it

***



Dr. Philip Davies

Philip Davies is currently on secondment from the University of Oxford to

the UK Cabinet Office where he is Director of Policy Evaluation in the Strategy

Unit. At Oxford Dr. Davies is Director of Social Sciences in the Department for

Continuing Education, and is a Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford. Philip Davies

is a graduate of the Universities of London, Oxford, and California, and has

held research and teaching appointments in universities in the United

Kingdom and the United States. He was also responsible (with colleagues in

the University of Oxford Medical School) for developing the University of

Oxford Master’s Programme in Evidence-Based Health Care. He directed this

programme for its first two years of operation. More recently, Philip Davies has

been working with colleagues in Britain and America to develop evidencebased public policy. He is on the Steering Committee of the Campbell

Collaboration, which prepares, maintains and disseminates systematic

reviews of the effects of interventions in education, crime and justice, and

social welfare. He is Chair of the Education Group of the Campbell

Collaboration. He is also a Visiting Honorary Fellow of the UK Cochrane Centre.

Recent book publications include: co-authorship of Evidence-Based Health

Practice: A Primer for Health Professionals (Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone,

1999), and a chapter in What Works? Evidence and Public Policy (Bristol, Policy

Press, 2000). Recent journal publications include: “What is Evidence-Based

Education” (British Journal of Educational Studies, 47, 2, 108-120); “The Relevance



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ABOUT THE AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS



of Systematic Reviews to Educational Policy and Practice” (Oxford Review of

Education, 26, 3and4, 365-378); and “The Campbell Collaboration: Does For Public

Policy What Cochrane Does For Health” (British Medical Journal, 323, 294-295).

Director of Policy Evaluation

The Strategy Unit

UK Cabinet Office

Room 4.37

Admiralty Arch

The Mall

London, SW1A 2WH

United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 207 276 1864

Fax: +44 207 276 1450

E-mail: phil.davies@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk

***



Dr. Randall Eberts

Randall Eberts is Executive Director of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for

Employment Research. His research includes the evaluation of employment and

training programs. Dr. Eberts’ current work includes developing statistical

models to help identify the needs of job seekers so that they can be directed

more quickly and effectively to services that best meet their needs. He and his

colleagues have developed similar models for the State of Michigan’s Worker

Profiling and Service Referral (WPRS) system and for a pilot project for welfareto-work participants funded by the US Department of Labor. Mr. Eberts has also

prepared reports for the European Commission on the US experience with early

identification of worker needs and the potential of service jobs to stimulate

economic growth in Europe. He has also partnered with the OECD’s LEED

Programme to examine the role of local partnerships in workforce development

and economic development. He has published extensively in academic

journals, including Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Labor Economics,

Journal of Human Resources, and Economic Inquiry. He has authored and edited

several books. Previous positions include Associate Professor of Economics at

the University of Oregon, Visiting Professor at Texas A&M University, Assistant

Vice President and Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and

Senior Staff Economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Randall

Eberts received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.



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W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

300 South Westnedge Avenue

Kalamazoo, MI 49007

USA

Tel.: +1 (616) 343-5541

Fax: +1 (616) 343-3308E-mail:

EBERTS@we.upjohninstitute.org

***



Dr. Kris Hallberg

Kris Hallberg is a Lead Economist in the Operations Evaluation

Department of the World Bank, an independent unit within the World Bank

that reports directly to the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. Since joining

the Bank in 1986, Dr. Hallberg has specialized in trade and industrial policy,

private sector development, and small enterprise development, working

primarily in Latin America as well as Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and East

Asia. Currently, she is responsible for evaluating the Bank’s private sector

development operations. During the past few years, she has worked with the

Committee of Donor Agencies for Small Enterprise Development to produce

guidelines for donor intervention in business development services for small

enterprises, and is a member of the Donor Committee’s working group on

impact evaluation. During 1991-94, Dr. Hallberg was the head of the World

Bank office in Bogota, Colombia. Prior to joining the World Bank she was on

the Faculties of Amherst College and Colby College. Dr. Hallberg holds a Ph.D.

in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The World Bank

MSN H3-307

1818 H Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20433

USA

Tel.: +1 (202) 458 5570

Fax: +1 (202) 522 3123

E-mail: khallberg@worldbank.org

***



Professor Edward W. (Ned) Hill

Edward W. (Ned) Hill is Professor and Distinguished Scholar of Economic

Development at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs of

Cleveland State University. Mr. Hill is also a Non-resident Senior Fellow of the



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ABOUT THE AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS



Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy of The Brookings Institution. He

edited Economic Development Quarterly from 1994 to 2004. Edward Hill was

awarded the title of Professor and Distinguished Scholar in the fall of 2001. He

was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of the Cleveland Zoological

Society in 2000, appointed to the Board of Directors of the Westside Industrial

Retention Network (WIRE-Net) in Cleveland, and the Ohio MEMS Society.

Governor, Mr. Robert Taft, appointed him to the Urban Revitalization Task

Force in the fall of 1999. Edward Hill and Harold Wolman were awarded the

Robertson Prize from the editors of Urban Studies in 1994. He is the author of

two books, co-editor of four books, and author of over 60 articles, book

chapters, and columns. His 2001 book, Ohio’s Competitive Advantage:

Manufacturing Productivity, and other articles and commentaries can be

downloaded from: http://urban.csuohio.edu/faculty/ned_hill/site/index.htm.

College of Urban Affairs

Cleveland State University

Cleveland, OH 44115

USA

Tel.: +1 (216) 687 2174

Fax: +1 (216) 687 9277

E-mail: Ned@urban.csuohio.edu

***



Dr. Peter Huber

Peter Huber is a researcher at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research

with a specialisation in regional labour market analysis. He previously worked

as researcher at the Department of Economics of the Institute for Advanced

Studies, Vienna. He has contributed to a number of studies for the European

Union and Austrian regional governments focusing on regional labour market

policy both in Austria and the accession candidate countries of the European

Union. His research stays include the Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech

Republic and the Hochschule für Ökonomie in the former GDR.

WIFO

Postfach 91

A-1103 Wien

Austria

Tel.: +43 1 798 2601 404

Fax: +43 1 798 9386

E-mail: Peter.Huber@wifo.ac.atWebsite: www.wifo.ac.at/.

***



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