Public policies

Design and evaluation of public policies

Evaluating public policies consists of measuring the effects of a policy in order to inform decision-making. The aim is to provide public authorities with tools to make their action more effective.

An evaluation should provide three types of information:
- how does the policy work and what are its effects?
- do its effects match the objectives?
- can it be done better and if so, how?

The first public policy evaluation programmes were developed in the United States in the early 20th century. The practice of evaluation in France has developed much more recently and is growing rapidly. It involves many public institutions: Parliament, the Cour des Comptes, the Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (INSEE), specialised agencies, universities, etc. and also relies on consulting firms.

Challenges of public policy evaluation

In a context where public action is being streamlined and the State is being reformed, public policies have to be designed with the aim of ensuring their capacity to achieve their objectives at the lowest cost. It is imperative to anticipate and control possible spill-over effects, in particular the systemic impacts of policies on economic sectors other than those targeted, their social impacts, in particular on increasing inequalities, and their environmental consequences. 

These are the theoretical and applied economic tools that will enable people working in the public sector, consultancy firms and quasi-governmental organisations to design and evaluate public policies and to participate in the debates surrounding them.

Job opportunities

Public policy evaluation officer in the public sector, public policy consultant in a consulting firm.

Master’s programmes at the Saint-Etienne School of Economics: Data Science and Innovation Management, Political Engineering and Regional Development