Policy Labs: the next frontier of Cohesion Policy design and evaluation
The fundamental challenge for policy practitioners is how to obtain research-based feedback on “what works and why” early enough to allow for improvement of policy solutions. This chapter proposes ‘policy labs’ as a solution to this challenge. It draws on the established tradition of program evaluation, the emerging practice of social labs, and insights from institutional analysis and applied behavioural science. Policy labs offer three tools to assist Cohesion Policy practitioners: a new framework for designing policy interventions, space for safe, collaborative learning from implementing experimental solutions within existing programs, and a diverse research method to provide credible knowledge.