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SWPS University - Main page

Center for Policy Design and Evaluation (C4PDE)

Institute of Social Sciences

The mission of our Center is to better understand the mechanisms, which make public policies effective in addressing the challenges of the Anthropocene. We focus our applied research on two objectives: (1) Developing smarter public policies, and (2) Making our public institutions smarter.

Inukshuk made of round stones, placed on a tree trunk, on a beach
Photo: Karol Olejniczak

What we do

We support policy makers in making public instituions smarter and developing smarter policies.

Research Streams

1. Developing smarter public policies

This stream of research aims to understand the design of individual policy tools such as programs, projects, and regulations.

Using expert terminology specific to public policy literature, we explore first-order mechanisms, i.e. the mechanisms of individual or collective behaviors displayed by policy addressees. We focus on policy interventions understood as triggers (causes) initiating change mechanisms, which, eventually, lead policy addressees to comply with expected behaviors (outcome). In short, our overarching question is: Which public interventions are effective in helping policy addresses to align with societal goals?

What has emerged from our research so far, is that “smarter policies”:

  • are aligned with actual mechanisms that drive human behaviors (behavioral insights)
  • follow coherent change pathway (Theory of change)
  • have visible positive impact on intended policy takers.

For more details please see the Publications Section.

2. Making our public institutions smarter

This stream aims to understand organizational arrangements, which are conducive to learning from successes and failures.

Using expert terminology specific to public policy literature, we strive to understand second-order mechanisms, i.e. organizational arrangements in public institutions, such as their structures, procedures, and processes (causes), which generate change mechanisms leading to improved policies (outcome). In short, our guiding question is: What organizational arrangements enable public agencies to improve policies over time?

What has emerged from our research so far, is a conclusion that “smart institutions”:

  • use a spectrum of evidence to make their decisions
  • apply co-production – use shared wisdom of policy makers and policy takers
  • use AI for design and evaluation in an ethical and transparent way.

For more details please see the Projects section.

Grabowska, Paulina
Bio
Tak
Specialization
designer, innovator
Permanent employee
Tak
First and last name
Paulina Grabowska
Academic degree or title
M.A.
City
warszawa
Role in the Institute
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Role in the Research Center
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Discipline
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Institute
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Role in the Department
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M.A. Paulina Grabowskadesigner, innovator
Lyubashenko, Igor
Bio
Tak
Specialization
political scientist, researches the principles of effective public policy design
Permanent employee
Tak
First and last name
Igor Lyubashenko
Academic degree or title
Ph.D. / Associate Professor
City
warszawa
Discipline
political-science-and-public-administration
Position
profesor uczelni
Role in the Faculty
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Role in the Institute
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Role in the Research Center
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Faculty
Array
Institute
Array
Ph.D. / Associate Professor Igor Lyubashenkopolitical scientist, researches the principles of effective public policy design

Associated Researchers

Kravchuk, Iryna
Bio
Tak
Permanent employee
Nie
First and last name
Iryna Kravchuk
Academic degree or title
Ph.D. / DOBRE Program, Ukraine
Specialization
monitoring, evaluation and learning consultant and trainer
Ph.D. / DOBRE Program, Ukraine Iryna Kravchukmonitoring, evaluation and learning consultant and trainer
Kupiec, Tomasz
Bio
Tak
Specialization
management studies and public policy researcher
Permanent employee
Nie
First and last name
Tomasz Kupiec
Academic degree or title
Ph.D. / Assistant Professor at the University of Warsaw
Ph.D. / Assistant Professor at the University of Warsaw Tomasz Kupiecmanagement studies and public policy researcher
Wellstead, Adam
Bio
Tak
Specialization
public policy researcher and consultant
Permanent employee
Nie
First and last name
Adam Wellstead
Academic degree or title
Professor at the Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University, USA
Professor at the Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University, USA Adam Wellsteadpublic policy researcher and consultant
Wojtowicz, Dominika
Bio
Tak
Specialization
economist
Permanent employee
Nie
First and last name
Dominika Wojtowicz
Academic degree or title
Professor at Kozminski University
Professor at Kozminski University Dominika Wojtowiczeconomist

Research
Projects

We research individual policy tools and organizational arrangements to improve the policy-making process and policy outcomes.

AI for Applied Policy Research

Self-funded, cross-projects initiative
Project duration: 2023-ongoing

The goal is to test the integration of generative AI technologies with daily tasks of policy researchers, policy designers, and program evaluators. This pioneering effort explores how advanced AI algorithms can enhance the daily design and evaluation of policy interventions. Our initiative includes experimentation with various AI-driven tools and platforms for searching policy cases, synthesizing large volumes of policy-related data, facilitating co-creation, and building policy arguments.

Consistency or space for experimentation? Analysis of Poland's policy response to the migration crisis caused by the escalation of Russian aggression against Ukraine

The project examines the consistency and effectiveness of Polish public authorities' response to the migration crisis following Russia's aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022. It focuses on the understudied aspect of policy consistency in response to new challenges, defined as the variability of solutions for similar problems under certain conditions. The research investigates whether this variability enhances or undermines policy effectiveness.

The study concentrates on policy solutions from 12 Polish metropolitan cities managing the influx of Ukrainian refugees. These cities, key hosts for refugees, present a diverse range of responses due to the engagement of multiple stakeholders, including local authorities. The selection of these cities is based on their significant refugee populations and their affiliation with the Union of Polish Metropolises, providing access to quality data.

Financed by the National Science Center (NCN), grant No.: 2022/45/B/HS5/00933
Project duration: 2023-2026

Read more about the project

Feedback as a public policy intervention. Comparative analysis and serious game testing of change mechanisms in food waste policies.

The aim of the project is to deepen our understanding of feedback used as a public intervention and, more specifically, to test the effectiveness of such an instrument in modifying the behavior of policy addressees - individual citizens, social groups and organizations. The team will focus on public interventions against food waste because food waste is a widespread and acute problem in all developed countries.

Financed by the National Science Centre, Poland, grant no. 2021/43/B/HS5/01935.
Project duration: 2022-2025

Read more about the project

Pushing innovation in cities. An exploratory study of Urban Policy Labs across the world

Funded by Poland's Ministry of Science and Higher Education as part of the Regional Initiative of Excellence program, project no. RID/2020/3417
Project duration: 2022-2024

Urban Policy Labs (UPL) is an emerging organizational practice, which aims to improve collective problem-solving in key policy issues. Our research explores the characteristics of the identified global population of over 100 UPLs worldwide, based on content analysis of their websites, particularly their project reports. We track the UPLs' activity based on the Sustainable Development Goals because the goals provide a universal and reliable baseline for our analysis. In doing so, we develop a two-part classification of UPLs based on the decision-making and problem-solving functions.

FOOD TRAILS. Building pathways towards FOOD 2030-led urban food policies

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, grant no. 101000812
Project duration: 2020-2024

The project aims to create a paradigm shift in urban food policy development by empowering cities to reconfigure and implement sustainable, healthy, and inclusive food policies. The project has brought together 19 European partners - 11 cities, three universities, and five independent organizations. A crucial project component is "Living Labs" - a space for dialogue, collaboration, and work. Each partner city develops and manages its lab, focusing on specific problems of food policy.
Read more the European project  

The Warsaw Food Lab (WFL) focuses on creating and testing small-scale solutions that address food waste. Our center assists the City of Warsaw in designing and evaluating two interventions: (1) helping small restaurants in sharing prepared food surplus and (2) helping organizations connected with Food Bank in increasing their use of donated food.
Read more the the Warsaw Food Lab project (in Polish)  

Publications

 

 

Stream 1: Smarter policies

"Serious Games for Evaluation" (in press) by Olejniczak, K. & Widawski I, in Research Handbook on Program Evaluation.

K. Newcomer & S. Mumford, (Eds.). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

"Simple Heuristics for Drafting Theories of Change: A Case of Behavioural Insights into Food Waste" by Olejniczak, K. & Lyubashenko, I. (in press), in Theories of Change: Strengths, Limitations and Future Directions.

D. Koleros, M-H., Adrien & T. Tyrrell (Eds.). New York: Routledge.

Review of The Routledge Handbook of Policy Tools  .

Olejniczak, K. (2023). Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, no. 25(3), pp. 361-362.

Comparing Behavioral Assumptions of Policy Tools: Framework for Policy Designers.  

Olejniczak, K., Śliwowski, P., & Leeuw, F. (2020). Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, no. 22(6), pp. 498-520.

Stream 2: Smarter institutions

Evaluation in the Post-Truth World

Marra, M., Olejniczak, K., Paulson, A. (Eds.) (in press). New York: Routledge.

Structures and functions of complex evaluation systems: comparison of six Central and Eastern European countries.  

Kupiec, T., Wojtowicz, D., & Olejniczak, K. (2023). International Review of Administrative Sciences, no. 89(1), pp. 202–220

Game-based Learning: Introducing the Subject of Transitional Justice through a Serious Game  

Lyubashenko, I. (2022). International Journal of Transitional Justice, 16(3), pp. 458-466

Learning agendas: Motivation, engagement, and potential.  

Newcomer, K., Olejniczak, K., & Hart, N. (2022). New Directions for Evaluation, no. 173, pp. 63–83.