At Evidence for Policy Design, our activities teaching the latest methods of development economics and impact evaluation go far beyond the Kennedy School classroom. One of our central goals is to foster a culture of evidence where the use of rigorous evidence comes to be the norm for a broader set of policymakers, and where the media and the public expect hard data behind all policy decisions. To that end, EPoD conducts short training programs at Harvard and around the world, and we are always seeking out new organizations and venues to host them. Furthermore, EPoD has longstanding relationships with in-country partners such as the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) in India and the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP) through which we conduct a range of activities – advising, training and research – that strengthen local evaluation capacity.
Harvard Executive Education
EPoD affiliates offer several courses through Executive Education, a branch of the Kennedy School that gives executives from the public, private and non-profit sectors the chance to come to Cambridge for an academically rigorous short program taught by Harvard faculty. We see this not only as a chance to impart our methods to policymakers from around the world, but also as a forum for collaboration, an occasion to gain new country-specific insights into the issues we study, and an opportunity to bring new individuals and organizations into our global research-policy network.
The links below will take you to the Executive Education site and full descriptions of the programs. Though diverse in subject matter, they all share a basic commitment to imparting the methods of evidence-based evaluation of public policy.
- Rethinking Financial Inclusion: Smart Design for Policy and Practice (co-chaired by Rohini Pande and Asim Khwaja)
- Using Evidence to Improve Social Program Effectiveness (co-chaired by Dan Levy)
- Shaping Healthcare Delivery Policy: Understanding the Challenges, Managing the Change (co-chaired by Amitabh Chandra)
An exciting new area of EPoD activity – fostered by our three-year funded Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) program – is our Policy Dialogues. Each of these in-country events focuses on a pressing policy challenge and gathers a broad set of actors that shape policy discourses and influence decisions – including politicians, government officials, senior bureaucrats, and military officers as well as representatives of the private sector, civil society, the media, and academia. Unlike traditional conferences, Policy Dialogues do not consist of panels of academics presenting their research. Rather, they are problem-focused forums for debate – using breakout sessions where groups are assigned to work through specific issues; consensus-building – incorporating insights from negotiation methodologies; and match-making – through the facilitation of partnerships. In addition to contributing to a broader culture of evidence, each Policy Dialogue produces specific outputs: consensus statements identifying evidence gaps and outlines of priorities for reform.
Teaching at Harvard Kennedy School
EPoD faculty teach HKS graduate students a variety of courses and workshops that employ rigorous empirical methods to inform development and social programs, including Economic Development: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Design, Policy Analysis, Institutions and Development, as well as statistics and econometrics courses. Rohini Pande serves as HKS Area Chair for Political and Economic Development, and Amitabh Chandra as Area Chair for Social and Urban Policy.
For Harvard undergraduates, EPoD has run an “International Development Bootcamp,” a short program that teaches key issues in development economics and evaluation, and helps students determine if they have a future in the field.
EPoD faculty are also actively engaged in developing and sharing teaching materials to support courses in evidence-based policy design, including designing teaching cases in partnership with the Kennedy School's Strengthening Learning and Teaching Excellence (SLATE) program. Some of the cases that EPoD faculty have created include:
- Women as Leaders: Lessons from Political Quotas in India (Rohini Pande & Anjani Datla)
- Designing Impact Evaluations: Assessing Jamaica's PATH Program (Dan Levy et al.)
- New York City Center for Economic Opportunity: An Evidence-Based Approach to Alleviate Poverty (Dan Levy et al.)