Jetske Bouma (PBL, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency) Evaluating environmental policy: the use & usefulness of experiments
Several papers have concluded that although the added value of experiments for policy design and evaluation is considerable, their use remains limited. Explanations for this have been sought in the limited understanding that policy makers have of experimental methods, and the organizational difficulties of implementing them. Much less attention has been paid to the limitations of experimental methods and the argument that experiments are not always useful for evaluating policy. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using experiments for environmental policy-making, with illustrations from practice.
In the first part of the presentation, I will briefly discuss the validity of the different methods and the type of policy issues that have been evaluated with the help of experiments. In the second part of the presentation I will turn to the question of how the usefulness of experiments for policy-making may be improved. Using the insights gained from the literature and our own experiences I will discuss i) how involving policy-makers in the evaluation process may improve the usefulness of experiments; ii) how improved scalability of experimental findings, and a credible evidence base helps policy relevance and iii) whether combinations of methods may enhance the added value of experiments for policy-making.