Policy impact assessment

Evidence-based policymaking has become increasingly important against the backdrop of complicated societal and environmental problems. The growing interdependence of policy subsystems, as well as the transboundary and intra-generational impacts of policies call for a careful science-based analysis of prospective policies prior to their adoption and implementation. Policy impact assessments (IA) are key to this process. They are by now a requirement in policymaking processes in all OECD member states. They have been acknowledged as a central tool of better regulation agendas in the European Union and increasingly so in emerging economies and developing countries.

As such, IA has become a central procedure to improve the quality of policy proposals and achieve better regulation. Moreover, IA provides a valuable basis to create acceptance for sustainability policies by showcasing their long-term benefits. Furthermore, the analysis can hint at measures to mitigate or compensate unwanted side effects and to guide the implementation of policies.

Evidence-based policymaking and IA takes place in highly politicised contexts. Consequently, the selection of impacts to be examined, the methods to be employed and the interpretation of the IA findings may be a contested process. This is why a careful and reflected use of scientific knowledge is key to ensuring the relevance of the analysis.

This seminar offers the necessary skills for future civil servants, scientists and consultants who offer services for policy Impact Assessments. The objective of the seminar is to convey practice-oriented knowledge on existing IA processes, procedures and methods, as well as their underlying academic thinking on policy IAs to the students.

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.


Dr. Klaus Jacob is a political scientist and research director of the Environmental Policy Research
Centre (FFU) of Freie Universität Berlin. There, he is head of the research group on Policy Assessment.
He works and publishes nationally and internationally on environmental and sustainability policies, on
questions of Policy Impact Assessment, evidence basing of policies, resource policies, ecological
modernization as well as environmental innovation and market effects and Lead Markets. In his
research he combines fundamental research with projects of policy consultation in national and
international research projects. He is coordinator of the European network of excellence Linking
Impact Assessment Instruments to Sustainable Expertise (LIAISE) and coordinates multiple projects on
consultation of the environmental and sustainability policy in Germany, amongst others about the
topics Green Economy, resource efficiency, sustainable consumption, sustainability strategies and
transformation. Klaus Jacob is, amongst others, chairman of the Executive Board of the international
“The Integrated Assessment Society” (TIAS). He teaches at Otto-Suhr-Institut of Freie Universität
courses on policy analysis, theories and methods of political sciences as well as training on Policy
Impact Assessment and Green Economy.

Dr. Pauline Riousset has been working as a researcher at the Institute for Ecological Economy Research
(IÖW) since April 2016 in the unit “ecological product policy” in Berlin. Before that, she wrote her PhD
thesis at the Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) of the Freie Universität Berlin and at the
Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) on transdisciplinary
methods and science policy interfaces. Dr. Riousset graduated from SciencesPo Paris and the
University Pierre et Marie Curie (M.A & M.Sc) in environmental sciences and policies. Her research foci
have been agro-ecology, sustainable agricultural practices, as well as issues of research evaluation. She
worked as a consultant for the OECD (2014), the UNEP International Resource Panel (2015) and for the
GIZ (2016).

Johanna Ferretti’s research focusses on impact assessments, the knowledge dimension within these
and environmental and sustainability integration. At the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape
Research (ZALF) Johanna works in the Sustainability Impact Assessment research group. There she
explores approaches for responsible research processes, including research impact assessment. Previously Johanna was a research fellow at the Environmental Policy Research Centre at Freie
Universität Berlin where she was concerned with procedures, methods and tools for policy impact
assessments. Her PhD project looked at policy impact assessment processes’ potential to promote
environmental policy stringency in waste and biofuels policies and the role of institutions and actors.
At the Technische Universität Berlin Johanna did research on environmental assessments and data
integration for strategic planning levels.