New Zealand Working For Families programme: Methodological considerations for evaluating MSD programmes


The methodological review is the second part of the evaluation research commissioned by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in 2005 to help in the preparation of the evaluation of the Working for Families (WFF) programme. This review enumerates the key evaluation questions identified by MSD as central to their policy concerns and considers how the features of WFF could affect evaluation. It details the methodological and data requirements that must be addressed in order to meet the four key evaluation objectives, namely:

  • tracking and evaluating the implementation and delivery of WFF
  • identifying changes in entitlement take-up and reasons for it
  • establishing the impact of WFF on employment-related outcomes
  • assessing WFF’s effect on net income and quality of life more generally.

The methodological review complements the literature review by reviewing evaluations from around the world that are pertinent to WFF. An overview of evaluation methods is provided, concentrating on particular issues that arise within the WFF context.

Section 2 focuses on implementation and delivery. Section 3 covers the issues related to take-up and entitlement and their evaluation. Section 4 discusses the evaluation methodologies that can be used in evaluating programmes such as WFF and introduces the data requirements they entail. Making work pay is the focus of section 5. Finally, section 6 examines hardship and poverty, living standards and wellbeing.

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Research Discussion Paper 26