Are Program Participants Good Evaluators?

64 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020

See all articles by Jeffrey A. Smith

Jeffrey A. Smith

University of Wisconsin - Madison; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Alexander Whalley

University of Calgary

Nathaniel Wilcox

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics

Abstract

How well do program participants assess program performance ex-post? In this paper we compare participant evaluations based on survey responses to econometric impact estimates obtained using data from the experimental evaluation of the U.S. Job Training Partnership Act. We have two main findings: First, the participant evaluations are unrelated to the econometric impact estimates. Second, the participant evaluations do covary with impact proxies such as service intensity, outcome levels, and before-after outcome differences. Our results suggest that program participants behave as 'lay scientists' who seek to estimate the impact of the program but face cognitive challenges in doing so.

Keywords: program evaluation, participant evaluation, surveys

JEL Classification: I28, J24, C83

Suggested Citation

Smith, Jeffrey Andrew and Whalley, Alexander and Wilcox, Nathaniel, Are Program Participants Good Evaluators?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13584, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3674305 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3674305

Jeffrey Andrew Smith (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Alexander Whalley

University of Calgary

University Drive
Calgary, T2N 1N4
Canada

Nathaniel Wilcox

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866
United States

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