Random-assignment experiments in policy evaluation: Lessons from the ground in the US

Friday 18 May 2018, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker: Professor Daniel R. Meyer from the University of Wisconsin - Madison

Professor Daniel R. Meyer will be giving a talk for the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York. He will be talking about random-assignment experiments, which are thought to be the best approach to evaluating the impacts of policy changes and other types of interventions; they have a long history in the US and are also used in the UK. But for some types of policies, they have substantial limitations. Drawing on on-the-ground experience of multiple random-assignment experiments dealing with family policy in the US, Professor Meyer will present a perspective on what these evaluation methods can and cannot tell us.

Professor Meyer's research

Professor Meyer’s research has centered on the issue of the economic well-being of single-parent families, a problem of critical importance. Most of his work examines child support policy and welfare reform, employing data derived from his various Wisconsin-based projects. With Professor Maria Cancian, he led a team of researchers that evaluated an experimental innovative child support policy. This multi-year, multi-method, multi-disciplinary evaluation demonstrated the advantages of allowing all child support paid by noncustodial parents (usually fathers) to go to the family.

The evaluation was used as important evidence to change the child support regime in the United States and the United Kingdom. Professors Meyer and Cancian are now leading another federally-funded multi-year, multi-method, multi-disciplinary evaluation of child support reforms. Eight states are experimenting with different approaches when individuals get behind in their child support payments, and evaluation findings have the potential to change policy approaches at the state and national level. Professor Meyer has participated in several studies of the income support system in place for families with children in the United States and several other developed countries and has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of York. At the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Professor Meyer teaches graduate courses in social policy, research, and social work macropractice.

Location: SPSW departmental seminar room - Block, top floor (room A/C/209)

Admission: Free