Research Frontiers in Workforce Productivity: Implications for Policy Design and Evaluation in Singapore |

Research Frontiers in Workforce Productivity: Implications for Policy Design and Evaluation in Singapore


The term “evidence-based policy” enjoys widespread usage today, yet there remains a large gap between the empirical analyses that academic experts recommend and what policymakers typically implement. This divergence reflects in part a lack of communication between scholars and practitioners about advances in research methodologies. A major development within the social sciences in the past two decades has been the refinement and application of experimental and quasi-experimental techniques to empirical analyses. In particular, scholars have emphasised the value of randomised evaluations as a method for measuring the true effects of policies and programmes.

The Harvard Evidence for Policy Initiative (HEPI) is a team of economists, political scientists, and sociologists that aims to promote the use of rigorous empirical analyses to inform the design of public policies and programmes. We partner with governments and non-governmental organizations to incorporate research into policy design and evaluation in order to better inform and improve public policies and programmes. Throughout, we focus on the core objectives and priorities of our partner organisations, tailoring our work to fit with their particular constraints. We help identify key theoretical insights and empirical findings relevant for policy and programme design, drawing from scholarship in a variety of fields, including economics, political science, sociology, psychology, and business. We assist with the analysis of existing and historical programme data, using quasi-experimental methods such as regression discontinuity, interrupted time series, and matching designs. We also help to design and implement pilot tests and randomised evaluations of policies and programmes. Our methodological approach emphasises the use of controlled experimentation (clinical trials) to provide rigorous impact evaluations of specific policies and programme features prior to full-scale implementation, allowing for testing of alternative policy designs to enable partners to choose the optimal approach and forecast its impact.

Dr. Hiscox will present the latest research on workforce productivity being conducted at Harvard, including specific proposals relevant to the Singapore context. Examples include: (1) What types of training programmes increase worker productivity? (2) How does gender balance affect the working dynamics of boards of directors and firm performance? (3) How does corporate culture affect productivity and recruitment and retention of talented employees? (4) What is the effect of ethnic diversity within firms on firm performance?; (5) Does adoption of labour standards improve firm productivity?

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Dr. Michael J. Hiscox, Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University; Professor of Management and Ethical Business, University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 19 March 2013
12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Seminar Room 3-5,
Level 3, Manasseh Meyer,
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy,
469C Bukit Timah Road,
Singapore 259772

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