Aranguren, M.J., Magro, E., Wilson, J.R.
Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, Vol. 35(4) 703–720
English // Keywords: Regional competitiveness policy, policy evaluation, policy learning
Regional competitiveness policy evaluation is at an interesting juncture. Increasing demand for evaluation is emerging at a time when policy complexity is highlighting the limits of existing techniques. Moreover, widespread use of the concept of policy learning in conceptual analysis is not matched by experimentation and reflection that can articulate what policy learning means in practice. This paper explores the transformative role that evaluation can play in policy learning, in theory, and in practice. It analyses experience with three different competitiveness policy evaluations in the same regional and institutional setting. It finds that explicit demand for evaluation, decisions around the appropriate mode of knowledge generation, the existence of dialogue spaces where relevant policy–stakeholders (including researchers) frequently meet, and the development of trust and cognitive proximity within these meeting places, are all critical factors if evaluation is to be transformative.