About Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD)

EPoD faculty and staff

EPoD Faculty & Staff at the annual 2014 EPoD Olympics

Governments should work in the interests of all of their citizens – but frequently, and especially in low-income countries, they are unable to do so. Markets, both economic and political, can fail to function efficiently. Institutions can be captured by elites or steered by ethnic groups. Inefficiencies, corruption, and unfair enforcement of regulations can render policies ineffective.

Weak implementation of poorly designed policies leads to significant costs in terms of growth, individual wellbeing and the environment – and these costs fall most heavily on the poorest citizens.

The faculty researchers who lead Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School believe that evidence-based smart policy design can help governments make the most of limited resources and improve the lives of the poor.

EPoD’s comprises a network of scholars, practitioners, staff and students at Harvard and across the developing world. We work closely with public and private in-country partners to identify problems and generate rigorous evidence that enables the design and implementation of effective policy solutions, and we teach our methods both in the classroom and the field. 

Under the direction of Harvard professors Asim Ijaz Khwaja and Rohini Pande, EPoD leverages its unique position at HKS to forge partnerships with senior policymakers from all parts of the world and implement evidence-based reform.

At this site, you can explore dozens of studies that fall under the main areas EPoD’s research-policy engagement:

Across all of these engagements, EPoD affiliates work with policy actors to identify barriers that keep rigorous evidence from affecting policy. Based on the results, they build policymaker demand and local capacity for the use of evidence through policy outreach and training efforts. This institutionalizes ongoing learning processes and ensures that policy redesign happens as and when needed.