Paul Stephenson edits special issue on policy evaluation in the EU

Paul Stephenson has seen the publication of his special issue ‘The Politicisation of Evaluation: Constructing and Contesting EU Policy Performance’ (60/4) in the German Political Science Quarterly (PVS, Politische Vierteljahresschrift), the leading political science journal in Germany.

Paul edited the issue in cooperation with Jonas Schoenefeld (Darmstadt/UEA) and Frans Leeuw (Maastricht Law Faculty). The issue contains 5/8 articles as open access.

Back in January 2018, Paul Stephenson organised a workshop at Campus Brussels on ‘Policy Evaluation in the EU’. The idea was to bring together researchers from both the EU political science and evaluation communities. The workshop welcomed 46 participants over two days for 22 papers over 8 panels: a mix of junior and senior academics, and various practitioners from the EU institutions including European Parliament, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Regulatory Scrutiny Board and European Court of Auditors.

The workshop was co-financed by the Centre for European Research in Maastricht (CERiM), FASoS Research Stimulation Fund (RSF), Stichting Universiteitsfonds Limburg (SWOL) and the Law Faculty of Maastricht University.

As the introduction to the first article states: “Although systematic policy evaluation has been conducted for decades and has been growing strongly within the European Union (EU) institutions and in the member states, it remains largely underexplored in political science literatures. Extant work in political science and public policy typically focuses on elements such as agenda setting, policy shaping, decision making, or implementation rather than evaluation. Although individual pieces of research on evaluation in the EU have started to emerge, most often regarding policy ‘effectiveness’ (one criterion among many in evaluation), a more structured approach is currently missing”.

The special issue aims to address this gap in political science by focusing on four key focal points: evaluation institutions (including rules and cultures), evaluation actors and interests (including competencies, power, roles and tasks), evaluation design (including research methods and theories, and their impact on policy design and legislation), and finally, evaluation purpose and use (including the relationships between discourse and scientific evidence, political attitudes and strategic use). The special issue considers how each of these elements contributes to an evolving governance system in the EU, where evaluation is playing an increasingly important role in decision making.

You can download the 8 articles here.

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