Town Planning Review

Evaluating spatial policies

Town Planning Review (2014), 85, (4), 427–432.

Abstract

In most countries economic prosperity is very unevenly distributed. Regional, urban and neighbourhood policies are often based on concerns about these kinds of disparities, and reducing such disparities is a key policy objective in many countries. High quality evaluation is central to understanding how to meet these objectives. However, impact evaluation - which seeks to identify the causal effects of policies - is often in short supply for spatial policies. In this viewpoint we highlight three barriers that hamper more rigorous impact evaluation. First, data availability constrains research. Second, identifying the causal impact of polices is difficult. Third, there are several practical barriers. We briefly consider each of these in turn, and make practical recommendations for change. Better policy design, more use of open data, and capacity-building for government analysts are three important and achievable steps in improving the extent and quality of future impact evaluations.

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CHESHIRE, P. and MAGRINI, S. (2009), ‘Urban growth drivers in a Europe of sticky people and implicit boundaries’, Journal of Economic Geography, 9, 85-115. ‘Urban growth drivers in a Europe of sticky people and implicit boundaries’ Journal of Economic Geography 9 85 115 Google Scholar

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GIBBONS, S. and OVERMAN, H. G. (2012), ‘Mostly pointless spatial econometrics’ Journal of Regional Science, 52, 172-91. ‘Mostly pointless spatial econometrics’ Journal of Regional Science 52 172 91 Google Scholar

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KATZ, L. F., KLING, J. R. and LIEBMANN, J. (2001), ‘Moving to opportunity in Boston: early results of a randomized mobility experiment’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116, 607-54. ‘Moving to opportunity in Boston: early results of a randomized mobility experiment’ The Quarterly Journal of Economics 116 607 54 Google Scholar

KLING, J. R., LUDWIG, J. and KATZ, L. (2005), ‘Neighborhood effects on crime for female and male youth: evidence from a randomized housing voucher experiment’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120, 87-130. ‘Neighborhood effects on crime for female and male youth: evidence from a randomized housing voucher experiment’ The Quarterly Journal of Economics 120 87 130 Google Scholar

OVERMAN, H. G. (2012), ‘Geographical economics and policy’, in M. M. Fischer and P. Nijkamp (eds), Handbook of Regional Science, Springer, London. Handbook of Regional Science Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

Gibbons, Steve

Nathan, Max

Overman, Henry