Now out: Palgrave Handbook of Public Administration and Management in Europe (Eds. E. Ongaro and S. Van Thiel), which covers no less than 60 (!) chapters with state-of the art knowledge on public administration in Europe. Together with Stijn Van Voorst, Ellen Mastenbroek, and Claire A. Dunlop, I co-authored a chapter on 'Policy Evaluation in Europe'.
Policy evaluations are increasingly considered a taken-for-granted prerequisite for a well-performing public sector. In this chapter, we address the question whether this view reflects the actual situation concerning evaluation capacity and culture in Europe. First, we reflect on the history of policy evaluation in Europe, by distinguishing between two ‘waves of evaluation’: the countries in Northwestern Europe that have conducted evaluations since the 1960s and the countries in the rest of Europe for which evaluation is a more recent phenomenon. Next, to illustrate the two waves of evaluation, we zoom in on three political systems that represent the national, regional and international level in Europe: the United Kingdom (UK), Flanders (Belgium) and the EU. For each system, we map evaluation culture and capacity by analysing six indicators. The chapter concludes with a reflection on current trends in evaluation research and possibilities for future research.