Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Roundtable: Measurement, Markets, and Social Policy
(Public and Non-Profit Management and Finance)

Thursday, November 12, 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Ibis (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Debra Hevenstone, University of Bern; University of Zurich
Moderators:  Debra Hevenstone, University of Bern
Speakers:  Genevieve Knight, Flinders University, Richard Hendra, MDRC, Jeffrey Smith, University of Michigan and Melissa Kanaya, Independent

In this roundtable we will discuss how and whether evaluation data can be used to structure competitive markets for social policies. We will discuss multiple types of market structures as well as multiple policies to which these structures could be applied. The first type of market structure covered will be the use of evaluation data to structure competition for funds among private non-profit or for-profit providers. We will then consider the use of evaluation data to inform individual consumer choice, for example using data in online central clearing houses where consumers can compare providers. The third, newer market structure that will be considered is the social impact bond, where private financial institutions compete for government contracts allowing them to invest in public goods and then providers, in turn, compete for contracts with the financial institutions to deliver services. The fourth structure to be discussed is how evaluation data can be used to design incentives for private party provision of social policy, for example, to define the criterion associated with tax deductions for private businesses. The role and efficacy of data and monitoring under these market structures will be compared to direct government provision. Each of these structures is used in multiple areas of social policy including unemployment and active labor market programs, drugs and mental illness, homelessness, public housing, health care, social insurance, jails and rehabilitation services, education, and childcare, to name just a few. The discussants will draw on their experiences in evaluation and program delivery to discuss which types of market structures are appropriate to which types of services and where problems have arisen in the past. The discussants will also consider longitudinal and geographic trends in the structure of financing public services and the implications of those trends with respect to public service efficacy and efficiency, as well as the role of organizational ecology and government capacity. The goal of this roundtable is to consider how evaluation and data is used to structure public goods provision. At the close of the roundtable we should have a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges that data analysis can present in policy delivery.