A Conceptual Framework for Studying the Sources of Variation in Program Effects

59 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2014

Date Written: June 2013

Abstract

Evaluations of public programs in many fields reveal that (1) different types of programs (or different versions of the same program) vary in their effectiveness, (2) a program that is effective for one group of people might not be effective for other groups of people, and (3) a program that is effective in one set of circumstances may not be effective in other circumstances. This paper presents a conceptual framework for research on such variation in program effects and the sources of this variation. The framework is intended to help researchers — both those who focus mainly on studying program implementation and those who focus mainly on estimating program effects — see how their respective pieces fit together in a way that helps to identify factors that explain variation in program effects and thereby support more systematic data collection on these factors. The ultimate goal of the framework is to enable researchers to offer better guidance to policymakers and program operators on the conditions and practices that are associated with larger and more positive effects.

Keywords: Program Evaluation, Variation, Variation in Effects, Variation in Impacts

JEL Classification: C00, C10, C90, C93

Suggested Citation

Weiss, Michael J. and Bloom, Howard S. and Brock, Thomas, A Conceptual Framework for Studying the Sources of Variation in Program Effects (June 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2393091 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2393091

Michael J. Weiss (Contact Author)

MDRC ( email )

200 Vesey Street
10281
United States

Howard S. Bloom

MDRC ( email )

200 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10281
United States

Thomas Brock

MDRC ( email )

200 Vesey Street
10281
United States

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