IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Getting Less for More: Economic Evaluation in the Social Welfare Field


  • Tom Sefton


Economic evaluation has an important role in helping to make decisions about the use of scarce resources in an explicit and rational manner, yet economic evaluation is not well-developed in many areas of social welfare. This paper looks at the reasons for this, focusing on what economists could do to redress the situation. It argues that standard approaches to economic evaluation may not always be appropriate, because of the nature of many social welfare interventions and because evaluators need to be able to address a broader set of evaluation questions. Economists could usefully contribute more to the debates that have concerned mainstream evaluators from other disciplines and modify their approach to evaluation accordingly. The paper concludes that in many areas of social welfare, economists should probably be less ambitious in terms of what they set out to achieve in terms of economic evaluation, but more ambitious in terms of the types of programme they can usefully help to evaluate and in terms of the range of techniques they are prepared to use, and give credence to, as part of an economic evaluation.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Sefton, 2000. "Getting Less for More: Economic Evaluation in the Social Welfare Field," CASE Papers case44, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:case44

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:case44. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.