Mind the Gap: From Evidence to Policy Impact

The conference was held in Cuernavaca, Mexico, between June 15 and 17, 2011.

It brought together over 400 researchers, policymakers and programme managers. Discussions focused on impact evaluation findings and issues concerning its management and use.

The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico (INSP), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the Center for Labor and Social Distributive Studies in coordination with the Impact Evaluation Network and the Poverty and Economic Policy Network (CEDLAS-IEN-PEP) co-hosted the conference.

It was preceded by a range of clinics tailored to the interests and needs of both researchers and programme managers.

The conference brought to centre stage the need to address the “tension between learning and doing” as Ruth Levine (Hewlett Foundation) called it in the conference opening. For researchers, there is pressure to deliver quick results and for policymakers “there is still a pronounced hunger for success stories but a tendency to choke on failure". 

Many of the participants at the conference spoke of a real shift in the political discourse and demand for evidence. In Latin America, impact evaluation has become part of the democratic dialogue. For the Chilean Planning Minister Felipe Kast, this movement in Latin America is partly due to the fact that “people don’t believe in politicians anymore. Since the credibility is so low, politicians must use good evidence to convince citizens that programmes are working”.

To know more about this conference, please read the Post-Conference Survey Report.

Nancy Cartwright’s presentation: Knowing what we are talking about: Why evidence doesn’t always travel

Howard White’s presentation: Mixed methods in impact evaluation

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