International Network for Social Policy Teaching and Research
(Fifth Annual Meeting)

Bergen, Norway
September 12-14, 2018


Wednesday, September 12


Business Dinner
Colonialen Litteraturhuset (Fosse-stova), Østre Skostredet 5.
Sponsored by Oxford University Press.

Evidence-Based Policy Analysis: Promise and Challenges
Jacob Klerman, Abt Associates

Comments/Reactions: Alexey Barabashev, Higher School of Economics, David Reingold, Purdue University, and Howard White, Campbell Collaboration

Thursday, September 13


Symposium: "Systematic reviews - Better Policy Implementation?"
Conference room at Bergen Resource Centre, Jekteviksbakken 31.


Welcome and Introductions
Marit Skivenes, University of Bergen
Douglas J. Besharov, University of Maryland and Atlantic Council
Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley


Are Systematic Reviews the Next Step in Evidence-Based Policy Analysis?

What are Campbell Collaboration systematic reviews? How are they used?
Howard White, Campbell Collaboration

Other systematic (and non-systematic) literature reviews for policy and planning
Jacob Klerman, Abt Associates


Coffee Break (incl. snack)


Are Systematic Reviews the Next Step in Evidence-Based Policy Analysis? (cont.)

Adding a formal policy analysis
Martin Potucek, Charles University

Establishing National and Regional Centers for Systematic Reviews
Howard White, Campbell Collaboration

Personnel, Funding, Auspice and Structure
Howard White, Campbell Collaboration




Seminar on Systematic Reviews (optional)

Seminar room 5 at Faculty of Law, Magnus Lagabøtes Plass 1.
The Center for Research on Discretion and Paternalism will plan a few touristic activity options for those not attending the seminar


Seminar on Systematic Reviews

Developing a Protocol
Howard White, Campbell Collaboration

Jacob Klerman, Abt Associates

Douglas Call, University of Maryland

Howard White, Campbell Collaboration
Jacob Klerman, Abt Associates


Business Dinner
De Bergenske, HZK at Hotell Zander K, Zander Kaaes gate 8.
Sponsored by Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism.

European Attitudes about Immigration and their Political Consequences
Mark H. Lopez, Pew Research Center
Comments/Reactions: Guido Merzoni, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and Sagrario Segado Sánchez-Cabezudo, INED

The Future of Europe: What the Polls Say about the Attitudes of Europeans toward the Future of Europe and the European Union and about the Future of Their Own Countries
Mark H. Lopez, Pew Research Center
Country specific comments/reactions from Martin Potůček, Charles University
and Pawel Polawski, University of Warsaw

Implications for Higher Education If the European Union Changes
Paola Mattei, University of Milan
Comments/Reactions: David Reingold, Purdue University

Friday, September 14


Public Forum: Immigration and its Discontents
Café Christie, Muséplassen 3.


European Attitudes about Immigration and their Political Consequences
Mark H. Lopez, Pew Research Center


Comments and discussions
Dr. Frøy Gudbrandsen, editor at newspaper Bergens Tidende


Network meeting for INSP members
Meeting room 904, Faculty of Social Sciences, Fosswinckels gate 6.


Welcome and Review of Agenda
Douglas J. Besharov, University of Maryland and Atlantic Council
Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley


Oxford Global Handbook Series
Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley

Handbooks: Approved

Public Administration for Social Policy: Promising Practices and Emerging Challenges
Karen Baehler, American University, ed. (approved in 2017)

Social Program Design and Implementation Evaluation
Anu Rangarajan, Mathematica Policy Research; and Diane Paulsell, Mathematica Policy Research; eds. (approved in 2017)

Family Policy: A Life-Course Perspective
Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley; Emiko Ochiai, Kyoto University; Birgit Pfau-Effinger, University of Hamburg; and Douglas Besharov, University of Maryland; eds. (approved in 2018)

Child Protection Systems
Jill Berrick, University of California, Berkeley; Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley; and Marit Skivenes, University of Bergen; eds. (approved in 2018)

Handbooks: To be Reviewed

International Handbook of Education: A Policy Research Approach
Paola Mattei, University of Milan; Xavier Dumay, University of Louvain; and Antonina Santalova, University of Oxford; eds.


Coffee Break


Oxford International Policy Exchange Series
Douglas Besharov, University of Maryland

Policy Exchanges: To be Reviewed

US Income Trends (working title)
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Manhattan Institute, ed.

European Income Trends(working title)
Georg Fischer, European Commission (ret.); and Robert Strauss, European Commission, eds.

Balancing Fiscal and Social Sustainability in European Pension Systems
Amilcar Moreira, University of Lisbon; and Gijsbrecht Dekkers, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium




Network meeting for INSP members (cont.)
Meeting room 904, Faculty of Social Sciences, Fosswinckels gate 6.


Policy Exchanges: To be Reviewed (cont.)

The World Politics of Social Investment: The Welfare State in the Knowledge Economy
Julian Garritzmann, University of Zurich; Silja Hausermann, University of Zurich; and Bruno Palier, Sciences Po. (video link)

Additional comments: Birgit Pfau-Effinger, University of Hamburg


Conferences/Policy Seminars
(Academic/research activities in which more than two members participate or the Network is identified as a cosponsor)
Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley

European Center for Research, Policies, and Action for Minors and Migration and the ‘International Journal of Child Welfare Policy’ (Melilla, April 2018)
Network members Sagrario Segado Sánchez-Cabezudo and Marit Skivenes established the European Center for Research, Policies, and Action for Minors and Migration in December 2017. In April 2018, they held the third annual seminar on research, policies, and actions for migrant minors in Melilla, Europe, and Spain. Network members Neil Gilbert and Mark H. Lopez also participated in the seminar.
In addition, Sagrario Segado Sánchez-Cabezudo and Neil Gilbert are launching a new journal titled The International Journal of Child Welfare Services. It is proposed that INSP members serve as the international editorial advisory board.

Rigorous Impact Evaluation in Europe (Torino, May 20-22)
This conference honored Alberto Martini and was cosponsored by Evaluation Review, the Collegio Carlo Alberto, the University of Maryland, and the Network. The conference included keynote talks by prominent researchers and policy-makers, including Daniele Bondonio, Università del Piemonte Orientale; Senator Laura Bottici, Italian Senate; Eric Hanushek, Stanford University; Alberto Martini, Università del Piemonte Orientale; Rebecca Maynard, University of Pennsylvania; Stefano Scarpetta, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development; and Jeffrey Smith, University of Wisconsin.
In addition, twenty-six papers were presented in ten panels on the following topics: cross-national generalizability in impact evaluation, economic growth/development, employment protection and contracts, elementary/primary education, issues and approaches to conducting rigorous impact evaluation, refugee and migrant policies, secondary and post-secondary education, systematic reviews, welfare policies and employment, and workforce development. In total, about fifty people attended the conference.
A special issue of Evaluation Review that contains some of the papers will be published in the future.

UNED Social Policy Seminar on "Social Policies and the Welfare State" (Malaga, May 2018)
Under the leadership of Antonio Lopez, the “IV International Seminar on Social Policies and the Welfare State” was held at the University of Malaga, Spain, May 23-25, 2018. Participants included Pablo Alvarez, ISCTE-IUL; Jill Berrick, University of California, Berkeley; Joaquin Castillo de Mesa, University of Málaga; Sofia Dedotsi, University of Northumbria; Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley; Ana López Narbona, University of Málaga; Chaime Marcuello Servos, University of Zaragoza; and Joseph Roscoe, University of California, Berkeley.

Family Sensitive Social Protection Consultation Meeting (Doha, June 2018)
Seven members of the Network (Douglas Besharov, University of Maryland; Timo Fleckenstein, London School of Economics; Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley; Antonio Lopez, UNED, Traute Meyer, University of Southampton; Jacqueline O'Reilly, University of Sussex; and Marit Skivenes, University of Bergen) attended a two-day expert meeting of international scholars convened to review Neil Gilbert’s report on Family Sensitive Social Protection. This meeting, held in Doha on June 26-27, was co-sponsored by the Qatar Foundation’s Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA). Plans to follow-up this meeting with future symposiums co-sponsored with DIFI are currently under discussion. During this time in Doha, the Network members along with Dr. Anis Brik of DIFI also meet with members of the Brookings Institute of Qatar.

Helping Low-Skilled Americans Find Work: Using Comparative Effectiveness Performance Monitoring to Strengthen the Capacity of Public Employment Agencies (Austrian Embassy, Washington, D.C., November 2018)
In the US, the University of Maryland is working with the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research on a project that seeks to develop, test, and disseminate an enhanced approach to performance monitoring that (1) better assesses program functioning, (2) provides the tools to learn from high- and low-performers, and (3) encourages the adoption of the most promising practices. We received funding for the project in February and the project is now in its initial stage of developing the initial data collection and analysis plan.
On the Austrian side, researchers at WIFO hope to conduct a parallel project in Austria, with the possibility of expanding the project to other countries in Europe.
On November 13, 2018, UMD and WIFO will jointly convene a briefing on the subject at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC.
From the Austrian side, we hope that Beate Hartinger-Klein, Austrian Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Health, and Consumer protection will open the meeting. Confirmed participants include Christoph Badelt, director of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research; Georg Fischer, the recently retired director of the Analysis, Evaluation, and External Relations division of the European Commission; Johannes Kopf, director general of the Austrian Public Employment Service; and Helmut Mahringer, research analyst at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research.
From the American side, we hope that Alexander Acosta, US Secretary of Labor, will also give a welcome. Confirmed participants include senior staff from the US House and Senate; Burt Barnow, George Washington University; Randall Eberts, Upjohn Institute; Jacob Klerman, Abt Associates and Evaluation Review; LaDonna Pavetti, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Jeffrey Smith, University of Wisconsin.


Faculty/Student Exchanges

Charles University/University of California, Berkeley
Charles University sent two scholars, Selma Muhic Dizdarevic and Ondrej Kopecny, for three years to conduct research at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare as Fulbright scholars. They were sponsored by Neil Gilbert based on Martin Potucek’s recommendation.

University of Tübingen/University of California, Berkeley and University of Maryland
The University of Tübingen has proposed sending a junior researcher to the US for one year beginning in the fall of 2019, splitting his/her time at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Maryland. The researcher would focus on US welfare policy, specifically Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and their respective residence requirements as well as the effects of the 1999 US Supreme Court ruling in Saenz v. Roe on caseloads and budgets in California.


International Teaching
Douglas Besharov, University of Maryland

Sorbonne/OECD/UMD on “Understanding and Synthesizing Evidence-Based Research” (Paris, Summer 2018)
In summer 2017, Douglas Besharov and Douglas Call taught a three-week course in Paris titled “Comparative Policy Analysis and Practical Program Evaluation.” Other guest faculty were Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley; Jacob Klerman, Abt Associates, David Myers, American Institutes of Research; Anu Rangarajan, Mathematica Policy Research; Stefano Scarpetta, OECD; and David Seidenfeld, American Institutes of Research.
The course was held at the Pantheon-Sorbonne campus. Students selected a topic of their choosing for which to prepare a policy analysis. We attempted to match students with policy analysts from the OECD who could give them guidance on their policy analyses. Unfortunately, many of the students selected narrow topics that were US-focused which made it difficult for OECD analysts to provide much guidance.
For our 2018 summer course in Paris, we made three major changes from the previous year:
(1) The biggest change was that we enlisted “clients” to submit proposals of research reviews on topics of the clients’ choosing. Clients included five offices at the OECD, the Agence Francaise de Developpement, UNESCO, the Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques, and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement. Students were matched to clients before traveling to Paris and met with their clients in-person during the two weeks they were in Paris.
(2) We narrowed the topic of the course to focus on systematic reviews and research reviews. In 2017, the topic of the course was policy analysis and program evaluation.
Subtopics for the course included problem specification, inclusion/exclusion criteria, developing a search strategy, evidence gap maps, assessment of the quality of research, and methods of synthesis.
(3) We changed the dates that students were in Paris from the first three weeks in July to the first two weeks in June.
As with last year’s course, the length of the course was not strictly limited to the days in Paris. In the beginning of May, students were sent a list of potential projects and selected the projects they were most interested in. Students were then expected to reach out to their clients to identify the scope of their projects. In mid-May, we held an online pre-departure orientation that included assigned readings to the students on the different forms of cross-study analyses and literature reviews.
Course instruction took place in Paris from June 3–June 14, meeting for about three-and-a-half hours every day. Students used their afternoons to meet with clients and prepare assignments. On the final day in Paris, students presented detailed research plans to their clients. The students’ final assignments (research reviews) are due at the end of August, about two-and-a-half months after leaving Paris.
Successful students received three master’s level credits from UMD. (Tuition was approximately $3,700, not including transportation to Paris .)
In general, we found that this was a successful model. All of the clients were enthusiastic about working with the students and every student was able to meet with their clients at least once while in Paris, many for multiple times either in person or by Skype.
It is possible, however, that the narrowness of the topic or the title of the course depressed student interest. (Only nine students enrolled in the course.) For a future summer course, one possible title for the course could be Applied Policy Analysis: Research Reviews and Program Evaluation—with an option for students to prepare research reviews, policy analyses, or similar products, again with topics selected by clients.
In addition, one possibility to increase enrollment is to encourage INSP members to participate as guest faculty, with the course paying the expenses for the faculty member if a specified number of students from their university enroll in the course.


Additional Programming


Bien Centro, Nordahl Bruns gate 9.

To view the full Bergen meeting agenda in PDF form, please click here.