Kenneth Watson

Fall

BOOK REVIEWS: S. Donaldson, C.A. Christie, and M.M. Mark. (2009) What Counts as Credible Evidence in Applied Research and Evaluation Practice? Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 265 pages.

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Pages:
128-130

Fall

BOOK REVIEWS: D. Kahneman. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 499 pages.

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Pages:
111-113

Spring

Making cost-benefit analysis a practical tool for evaluation

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Pages:
47-62

A cost-benefit evaluation requires precise data on program outcomes. However, such data are unavailable when the analysis is prospective, and expensive and time-consuming to collect when the analysis is retrospective. This problem of uncertain data is partly solved by the revised version of the Treasury Board Benefit-Cost Analysis Guide (Watson & Mallory, 1997), which allows probabilistic estimates of program results to be used in the analysis. There are not yet many examples of this technique in practice. One is Transport Canada's evaluation of alternative requirements for small commercial vessels to carry emergency signaling equipment. This article describes that evaluation and assesses how well the methodology worked.

Spring

Program design can make outcome evaluation impossible: a review of four studies of community ecc development programs

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Pages:
59-72

Between 1981 and 1990 Employment and Immigration Canada evaluated three community ecc development programs: the Community Employment Strategy, the Local Employment Assistance and Development, and the Community Futures program. In retrospect, one can see that these evaluations were hindered by two problems of program design: there was no replicable treatment, and the broad, shallow interventions were unlikely to have measurable effects in an environment "noisy" with uncontrolled factors. This article reviews the evaluation studies of these three programs, the lessons learned from each study, how subsequent programs reflected those lessons, and how the methodological limitations of the studies constrained what was learned.

Fall

Is The Bottom Line "Impact" Or Profits? A Rejoinder

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Pages:
69-73

Spring

The Social Discount Rate

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Pages:
99-118

Recently the discount rate recommended by Treasury Board Canada for use in program evaluations and project assessments has been challenged. This article reviews the theory and evidence supporting various estimates of the Canadian discount rate, and includes a comparison of rates used by the U.S. government and the World Bank. The article was written with the support of Training and Development Canada.