Evaluation and Policy Learning: The Learners' Perspective

Susana Borrás, Steven Højlund

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    This article examines how evaluation induces policy learning – a question largely neglected by the scholarly literature on evaluation and policy learning. Following a learner's perspective, the article attempts to ascertain who the learners are, and what, and how, learners actually learn from evaluations. In so doing, it focuses on what different types of learners actually learn within the context of the evaluation framework (the set of administrative structures defining the evaluation goals and process). Taking the empirical case of three EU programme evaluations, the patterns of policy learning emanating from them are examined. The findings are that only two types of actors involved in the evaluation are actually learning (programme units and external evaluators), that learners learn different things (programme overview, small-scale programme adjustments, policy change and evaluation methods) and that different learners are in control of different aspects of the evaluation (learning objectives and processes) according to the evaluation framework established by the European Commission.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)99-120
    Number of pages22
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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