Pilot and feasibility study on the sustainability and effectiveness of results for European Social Fund participants using counterfactual impact evaluations
The ‘Pilot and feasibility study on the sustainability and effectiveness of results for ESF participants using CIEs’ is aimed at assessing the feasibility of counterfactual impact evaluation (CIE) as an advantageous evaluation method of ESF operations used at EU level, relying on data collected at national level.
CIEs are fundamental for addressing the crucial question of causal inference: the distinctive characteristic of the counterfactual methods is that they are aimed at verifying or rejecting the hypothesized causal connection between the intervention and results and at measuring what would have happened to beneficiaries of an intervention in the absence of the intervention.
The study looks at the potential of the available data and assesses whether CIE could be used more frequently for evaluation purposes. In particular, it identifies the difficulties in using CIE and the ways to overcome them, notably as regards access to data on unemployment and school registers.
Finally, the study explores how CIE could be used directly by the European Commission to reach concrete conclusions about the effectiveness of ESF and the sustainability of results.