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Swarthmore Alum, Professor Discuss Concept of Program Evaluation

GovInnovator: Using rigorous program evaluation to learn what works: An interview with Robinson Hollister, Swarthmore College

What does the term "counterfactual" mean and why is it important for rigorous program evaluation? What are the advantages of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) over non-experimental approaches to evaluation? And what surprising finding from the National Supported Work Demonstration showed the usefulness of evaluation with an experimental design?

We explore these and other questions with Robinson (Rob) Hollister, one of the nation's experts on program evaluation, in an interview designed to give program managers and policy officials an accessible introduction to several key evaluation topics.

Professor Hollister is the Joseph Wharton Professor of Economics at Swarthmore College. He is a past winner of the Peter H. Rossi Award from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) for his contributions to the field of program evaluation. He has been involved in the design and evaluation of numerous programs in the fields of employment and training, education, welfare reform, health and education. ...



Andy Feldman, the creator of the GovInnovator blog, graduated from Swarthmore in 1996 with a B.A. in Economics. He has also served as an Honors examiner. His guest, Robinson Hollister, is the Joseph Wharton Professor of Economics at Swarthmore. Hollister is an expert in areas including poverty, welfare reform, health care, the effectiveness of job training for the economically disadvantaged, and Near Eastern labor markets. He has testified before Congress and written widely on the effectiveness of the federal Job Corps, which he has evaluated and monitored since the 1960s.

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