Centre for Evidence-based Policy Advice (IWH-CEP)
The Centre for Evidence-based Policy Advice (IWH-CEP) of the IWH was founded in 2014. It is a platform that bundles and structures activities in research, teaching, and policy advice. IWH-CEP pursues the objective of creating better foundations for a causal analysis of policy implemented across different sectors.
IWH-CEP is designed as a service unit and supports the activities in the research groups by providing access to a supra-regional research and policy advising network as well as access to data sets for causal analyses. IWH-CEP lies at the interface between three areas of responsibility and carries out coordination functions between them.
The tasks of the IWH-CEP
The government intervenes in the market mechanism through a lot of policy instruments in order to achieve various economic objectives. However, for policy makers, it is important to know whether the originally intended objectives are also achieved. Scientific methods can make a significant contribution to this. These are necessary to establish a clear connection between a policy instrument and its effect. Against this background, the Centre for Evidence-based Policy Advice (IWH-CEP) at the IWH was founded.
Research and Policy Advice
Research and policy advice are organized via the different research groups of the IWH. This organizational structure allows to assess policy changes from both a macro and micro perspective and cover different sectors of the economy.
To gain a better understanding of structural changes and economic growth, a first focus is set on the evaluation of industrial policy schemes, for example, the "Joint Task of 'Improving the Regional Economic Structure'" (which is the most important regional policy support scheme in Germany) is being evaluated in the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt. The objective of the project is to use different evaluation techniques to assess the impact of policy support measures. The project is carried out under the responsibility of the IWH Research Group "Evaluation of Subsidy Programmes".
A second key area includes analyses on regulatory reforms and effects. Especially having in mind that after the recent financial crisis, a re-regulation of the financial system took place, it is of utmost importance to evaluate the effectiveness of the reforms as well as to assess whether there are unintended side-effects. In the context of the project The Political Economy of the European Banking Union, researchers in the financial markets department study how the directives underlying the European Banking Union are implemented across member states as well as whether the new regulatory framework has implications for banking stability and financial intermediation.
Set-up and Maintenance of Databases
The major challenge in the analysis of effects of government interventions and regulatory changes lies in the accessibility of administrative data. IWH-CEP advances into this direction by building up databases that can be shared with other researchers.
Therefore, the IWH Subsidy Database is set up, maintained and completed according to the (current) specialisation in the analysis of effects of industrial policy support schemes. Information about the funded projects alone is not sufficient to conduct causal analyses – corporate data provieded by official and commercial statistics must be added; this is organised using record linkage techniques. This task is carried out at the IWH Research Data Centre.
Additionally, the financial market department has set up the website International Banking Library, which is a web-based platform for the exchange of research outcomes on cross-border banking. It provides access to data sources, academic research on cross-border banking, both theoretical and empirical, as well as information on regulatory initiatives. Thus, the website provides researchers and policymakers with a comprehensive overview of available data to conduct policy evaluation and the current stance of the literature on regulation and supervision of financial markets. The quarterly newsletter summarizes recent developments and is appreciateted by both academics and central bankers.
The IWH-CEP organises the annual transfer conference "From Transition to European Integration". Under a current topic, the event connects representatives from politics, ministries, authorities, associations and companies with scientists from the IWH and its partner institutions. The opening speech is given by a prominent politician. After scientific lectures and discussions, a panel discussion concludes the one-day conference. The event is designed for the dissemination of IWH's research findings among political decision-makers and administrative professionals. There is also media coverage.
FLEXPANELDID: Stata module to perform causal analysis of treatments with varying start dates and durations
flexpaneldid: A Stata Toolbox for Causal Analysis with Varying Treatment Time and Duration
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 3, 2020
The paper presents a modification of the matching and difference-in-differences approach of Heckman et al. (1998) for the staggered treatment adoption design and a Stata tool that implements the approach. This flexible conditional difference-in-differences approach is particularly useful for causal analysis of treatments with varying start dates and varying treatment durations. Introducing more flexibility enables the user to consider individual treatment periods for the treated observations and thus circumventing problems arising in canonical difference-in-differences approaches. The open-source flexpaneldid toolbox for Stata implements the developed approach and allows comprehensive robustness checks and quality tests. The core of the paper gives comprehensive examples to explain the use of the commands and its options on the basis of a publicly accessible data set.
09.2019 ‐ 09.2022
Establishing Evidence-based Evaluation Methods for Subsidy Programmes in Germany (EVA-KULT)
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
The project aims at expanding the Centre for Evidence-based Policy Advice at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH-CEP).
A Systemic View on Knowledge-based Development Metrics
in: International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development, No. 1, 2012
Drawing on the systems perspective of innovation processes, this article proposes a conceptual approach for a comprehensive analysis of regional knowledge generation and transfer. Instead of focusing on one single indicator, the approach emphasizes the importance to take multiple channels of knowledge transfer into account. This provides valuable insights into the spatial structure of innovation processes on different levels. We disentangle the innovation process and consider four different layers: i.) publications in peer-reviewed journals, ii.) patent applications, iii.) formal R&D collaboration projects, the iv.) localized input-output relations. Further, we demonstrate the relevance of the „multi-layer approach‟ by applying it empirically to a specific regional innovation system: The Free State of Saxony – a federal state in Germany. We argue that the approach could be a valuable tool to inform policy-makers about knowledge-based regional development strategies.
Distance Functions for Matching in Small Samples
in: Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, No. 5, 2011
The development of ‘standards’ for the application of matching algorithms in empirical evaluation studies is still an outstanding goal. The first step of the matching procedure is the choice of an appropriate distance function. In empirical evaluation situations often the sample sizes are small. Moreover, they consist of variables with different scale levels which have to be considered explicitly in the matching process. A simulation is performed which is directed towards these empirical challenges and supplements former studies in this respect. The choice of the analysed distance functions is determined by the results of former theoretical studies and recommendations in the empirical literature. Thus, two balancing scores (the propensity score and the index score) and the Mahalanobis distance are considered. Additionally, aggregated statistical distance functions not yet used for empirical evaluation are included. The matching outcomes are compared using non-parametric scale-specific tests for identical distributions of the characteristics in the treatment and the control groups. The simulation results show that, in small samples, aggregated statistical distance functions are the better choice for summarising similarities in differently scaled variables compared to the commonly used measures.
Measuring Regionalized Knowledge Generation and Transfer – A Feasibility Study Using a Multi-layer Approach in the Free State of Saxony
in: IWH-Sonderhefte, No. 5, 2010
Economic literature regards knowledge creation and learning as critical elements for gaining competitive advantage of regions. However, recognizing the importance of innovation and knowledge creation to economic success is far from being novel. Original is the view of increasing importance of knowledge creation for speeding up the depreciation of existing knowledge stocks. This puts a high pressure on regional actors to constantly participate in innovation processes to maintain their competitive advantages. Against this background, regional actors – if they aim to be successful in the globalized economy – first require access to a comprehensive and diversified knowledge base. Second, they need to participate in the processes of knowledge generation and knowledge transfer. Thereby, systemic innovation theory has pronounced the view that the locus of innovation and knowledge creation resides not only within the boundaries of the regional actors, such as private firms, universities, research laboratories, suppliers, and customers, but is the result of an interdependent exchange process between these different types. Collaborative interactions, bringing together different types of actors, may therefore lie well at the heart of accelerated knowledge creation and learning at the regional level (Lundvall and Johnson 1994).
The Identification of Industrial Clusters – Methodical Aspects in a Multidimensional Framework for Cluster Identification
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 14, 2010
We use a combination of measures of spatial concentration, qualitative input-output analysis and innovation interaction matrices to identify the horizontal and vertical dimension of industrial clusters in Saxony in 2005. We describe the spatial allocation of the industrial clusters and show possibilities of vertical interaction of clusters based on intermediate goods flows. With the help of region and sector-specific knowledge interaction matrices we are able to show that a sole focus on intermediate goods flows limits the identification of innovative actors in industrial clusters, as knowledge flows and intermediate goods flows do not show any major overlaps.
20 years of innovation policy in East Germany – from a pure “survival support” to high-tech subsidy
in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 2, 20 Jahre Deutsche Einheit - Teil 2 - 2010
The article uses the occasion of “20 years German re-unification” in order to provide an overview of the range of innovation policy schemes in East Germany with the intention to identify changing patterns or paradigms in its philosophy and priorities over time. In general, innovation policy schemes aim at increasing research and development (R&D) activities of companies in order to strengthen their competitiveness as market incentives for R&D are usually too low (problem of market failure). However, in East Germany in the early 1990s the situation was different. At the very beginning, the transformation process in East Germany was accompanied by innovation policy schemes that aimed at the pure maintenance of industrial research and the stock of R&D personnel since the potential for innovation was at a risk to be eliminated completely. In the late 1990s the intention of innovation policies changed. Instead of financial support primarily for human resources, innovation policy schemes since then focused on the support of cooperation projects between different research entities (companies and scientific organizations) and, later on, also the setup of networks in order to close the economic differences between East and West Germany.
Subsidized Vocational Training: Stepping Stone or Trap? An Evaluation Study for East Germany
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 21, 2009
The aim of this paper is to analyze whether the formally equal qualifications acquired during a subsidized vocational education induce equal employment opportunities compared to regular vocational training. Using replacement matching on the basis of a statistical distance function, we are able to control for selection effects resulting from different personal and profession-related characteristics, and thus, to identify an unbiased effect of the public support. Besides the ‘total effect’ of support, it is of special interest if the effect is stronger for subsidized youths in external training compared to persons in workplace-related training. The analysis is based on unique and very detailed data, the Youth Panel of the Halle Centre for Social Research (zsh). The results show that young people who successfully completed a subsidized vocational education are disadvantaged regarding their employment opportunities even when controlling for personal and profession-related influences on the employment prospects. Besides a quantitative effect, the analysis shows that the graduates of subsidized training work in slightly worse (underqualified) and worse paid jobs than the adolescents in the reference group. The comparison of both types of subsidized vocational training, however, does not confirm the expected stronger effect for youths in external vocational education compared to workplace-related training.
Subsidized Vocational Education in East Germany: Stepping Stone or Dead End?
in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 12, 2009
The aim of the study is to analyse whether the formally equal qualifications acquired during a subsidized vocational education induce equal employment opportunities compared to regular vocational training. This question is answered for adolescents in workplace-related training. Using replacement matching on the basis of a statistical distance function, we are able to control for selection effects resulting from different personal and profession-related characteristics and thus to identify an unbiased effect of the public support. The analysis is based on unique, very detailed data, the Youth Panel of the Halle Centre for Social Research (zsh). The results show that young people who successfully completed a workplace-related training are disadvantaged regarding their employment opportunities even when controlling for personal and profession-related influences. Besides a quantitative effect on the percentage of employed adolescents, the analysis shows differences in the job quality: The employed graduates of workplace-related training work in worse paid jobs, and less are employed in qualification adequate occupations compared to matchable graduates of regular vocational education.
Matching kleiner Stichproben. Ein Vergleich verschiedener Verfahren
in: Saarbrücken, 2009
Die Anwendung moderner Evaluationsverfahren ist aus der wissenschaftlichen Politikberatung nicht mehr wegzudenken. Unabhängig davon ist die Idee dieser Methoden auf viele Gebiete der Ökonomie und der Sozialwissenschaften übertragbar. Da die konkrete Fragestellung ebenso wie die verfügbaren Informationen die Eignung eines Verfahrens für den praktischen Einsatz beeinflusst, fällt die Auswahl der “richtigen“ Methode oft schwer. Die Studie ist als Beitrag zur Entwicklung von Richtlinien für den praktischen Einsatz speziell von Matchingverfahren zu sehen, dessen Ziel darin besteht, die diskutierten Methoden einem breiten Anwenderkreis zugänglich zu machen. Charakteristisch dabei ist ein enger Bezug zur praktischen Anwendung, der auch die Rahmenbedingungen für die durchgeführte Simulation vorgibt. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass es sich lohnt, bei der Wahl eines Matchingansatzes „über den Tellerrand zu schauen“ und bisher nur in anderen Wissenschaftsbereichen genutzte Verfahren eventuell anzupassen und für die Bildung von Vergleichsgruppen nutzbar zu machen. Dies gilt insbesondere für die Wahl eines geeigneten Distanzmaßes.
Die horizontale und vertikale Dimension industrieller Cluster – methodische Aspekte am Beispiel Dresdens
in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 7, 2009
Das Konzept industrieller Cluster verzeichnet stetige Attraktivitätsgewinne bei Akteuren regionaler Wirtschaftsförderung. Folgt man der Überlegung, dass das Clusterkonzept einen Ansatzpunkt zur Förderung der Wettbewerbsfähigkeit von Regionen bildet, so ist es in einem ersten Schritt notwendig, industrielle Cluster umfassend zu identifizieren. Bisherige Untersuchungen bedienen sich dazu einer methodischen Vielfalt. Sie reicht von spezifischen regionalen Fallstudien über Cluster-Mapping und Input-Output-Methoden bis hin zu verschiedenen Konzentrationsmaßen. Der folgende Beitrag orientiert sich an einer mehrdimensionalen Clusterdefinition und versucht, die verschiedenen methodischen Ansätze zusammenzuführen. Durch die Kombination der Verwendung von Konzentrationsmaßen, Input-Output-Methoden sowie regionalen Matrizen innovativer Wissensflüsse wird ein ganzheitlicher Ansatz zur Identifikation horizontaler und vertikaler industrieller Cluster vorgestellt. Dieser ermöglicht es, regionsspezifische und regionsübergreifende Clusterstrukturen zu identifizieren. Am Beispiel des Großraums Dresden zeigt sich, dass sich die wirtschaftliche Aktivität mehrheitlich auf die kreisfreie Stadt Dresden konzentriert. Übersehen wird jedoch oftmals die Bedeutung des Umlandes für die Wissensgenerierung in Kernstädten. Mit Hilfe einer regionalen Matrix innovativer Wissensflüsse lassen sich positive Effekte der Wissensgenerierung durch die Kragenkreise Dresdens darstellen. Diese Strukturen gilt es in einer umfassenden Identifikation industrieller Cluster zu beachten, damit alle Akteure der Wissensgenerierung in die Clusteridentifikation einbezogen werden.
Microeconometric Evaluation and the Selection Bias – A practical Survey of Nonparametrical Solution Methods
in: Zeitschrift für Evaluation 2, No. 2, 2006
The application of evaluation strategies becomes more important in various fields of study. The problem of self-selection associated with microeconomic evaluation can be solved in different ways, but nonparametrical solutions are most popular. The study gives an overview of nonparametrical solution methods for this problem. The aim is to close the gap between introductory and the more sophisticated literature and to give some practical guidance for the choice of the appropriate method for empirical application. The assumptions as well as advantages and drawbacks for empirical application and the requirements to the data base are described for every approach. It becomes clear that there is no ‘magic bullet’. For an unbiased estimation the assumptions have to be fulfilled and the data at hand must be compatible with the respective method.