Research produced by Evans School faculty, students, and partners drives change and shapes revolutionary policy solutions in communities worldwide.

Evans School Policy Analysis & Applied Research Support for Agricultural Development


C. Leigh Anderson

C. Leigh Anderson, Marc Lindenberg Professor for Humanitarian Action, International Development, and Global Citizenship

Led by Marc Lindenberg Professor for Humanitarian Action, International Development, and Global Citizenship C. Leigh Anderson and Nancy Bell Evans Professor in Nonprofit Management Mary Kay Gugerty, the Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group (EPAR) provides research and policy analysis to support the work of the Agricultural Policies team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This unique partnership gives graduate students and faculty at the Evans School the opportunity to engage in research projects supporting the strategic goals of the Gates Foundation’s Agricultural Development initiative, and its Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation group. The projects include conducting literature reviews, performing data analyses, and preparing briefings on agricultural development and related topics. Since the beginning of this partnership in fall 2008, EPAR has prepared more than 200 research reports covering diverse subject matter, ranging from examining women’s roles in the production of various crops to exploring the use of and improved variety seeds and fertilizers. This research touches on issues that are at the forefront of agricultural development and poverty alleviation strategies currently implemented by the Gates Foundation and its partners in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. EPAR also provides medium- to long-term data analysis for the Living Standards Measurement Study survey data.

Learn more about EPAR

Enhancing Women’s Participation Along the Agricultural Value Chain in Tanzania

C. Leigh Anderson, Marc Lindenberg Professor for Humanitarian Action, International Development, and Global Citizenship | Mary Kay Gugerty, Nancy Bell Evans Professor in Nonprofit Management

Marc Lindenberg Professor for Humanitarian Action, International Development, and Global Citizenship C. Leigh Anderson and Nancy Bell Evans Professor in Nonprofit Management Mary Kay Gugerty are leading a project to develop and test innovations for increasing women’s participation in value chain initiatives in Tanzania. The project, sponsored by USAID, will build on Farm Concern International’s successful commercial villages model. In particular the project will test the effectiveness of training and work share approaches to increasing Tanzanian women’s participation in both upstream and downstream components of the horticultural value chain, and monitor household, climate, health, and other shocks that affect women’s ability to engage in paid work along the value chain and whether working banking mitigates these effects.

Creating a Sustainable Future for the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis

Sandra O. Archibald, Dean and Professor of Public Affairs

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded a grant to the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance to enhance the sustainability of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis over the next three years. The project includes continuing to build the Society's revenue sources, infrastructure, and conferences devoted to promoting the intellectual development of the field.

Learn more about the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis

Effective Clusters: The Base for Innovation and the Source of Sustainable Regional Development

Sandra O. Archibald, Dean and Professor of Public Affairs

The Rzeszow School of Business (Poland) has awarded the Evans School a grant to conduct research on the Washington state aerospace cluster to develop a new methodology for evaluating cluster performance and to identify best practices.

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program

Sandra O. Archibald, Dean and Professor of Public Affairs

Every year for over 25 years, the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance has hosted between 10 and 15 midcareer professionals from around the world through the Hubert H. Humphrey Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The Fellows take part in one year of advanced non-degree study to gain hands-on experience and theoretical knowledge of how the U.S. approaches work in their professional fields.

Learn more about the Evans School’s Humphrey Program

Ideas for Action Awards: Making Prosperity Possible for All

Sandra O. Archibald, Dean and Professor of Public Affairs

Sponsored by the Northwest Area Foundation, and in partnership with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, the Nancy Bell Evans Center at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, under the leadership of Senior Lecturer Emeritus David Harrison, has established a new prize competition: the Ideas for Action Award. Designed to develop and promote new thinking and policies to reduce poverty long term, winning prize ideas receive monetary awards and may be translated into new programs and improved services throughout the eight-state region covered by the Northwest Area Foundation. So far competitions have been held in 2012–2013 and 2013–2014. 

Learn more about the competition

Hazards SEES Type 2: Magnitude 9 Earthquake Scenarios—Probabilistic Modeling, Warnings, Response and Resilience in the Pacific Northwest

Ann Bostrom

Ann Bostrom, Weyerhaeuser Endowed Professor in Environmental Policy

Weyerhaeuser Endowed Professor in Environmental Policy Ann Bostrom, as part of a team of fellow University of Washington researchers, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation aimed at reducing the catastrophic potential of a Cascadia subduction zone magnitude 9 earthquake and related events through integrated research advances in prediction, warning, and adaptive planning across the social, built, and natural environments.

Risk Communication Research in Japan

Ann Bostrom, Weyerhaeuser Endowed Professor in Environmental Policy

Weyerhaeuser Endowed Professor in Environmental Policy Ann Bostrom has been awarded $40,246 by the National Science Foundation for participants to attend a risk communication symposium this fall in Japan to frame a risk communication research agenda that will lead to improved risk communication and management, especially for extreme events such as subduction zone earthquakes and nuclear power plant accidents.

Perception of Climate Change: Implications For Climate Communication And Climate-Related Decision-Making

Ann Bostrom, Weyerhaeuser Endowed Professor in Environmental Policy

One of the great challenges for the scientific community over the next decade is to provide useful guidance to society regarding the implications of global climate change, including the substantial uncertainties about these. With this project we combine two very different approaches to this problem: a mixed methods mental models analysis and an experimental decision laboratory paradigm. In common to both approaches is a behavioral decision analytic perspective. The proposed set of climate change perception studies assess initial perceptions and mental models of climate change and the impact of key communication variables—including salience, stated uncertainty and level of abstractness—on trust, concern, self-efficacy and decision making. The decisions examined include use of climate forecasts in end-user decisions as well as support for climate change mitigation policies.

Benefit Cost Analyses of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Plan Projects

Joe Cook

Joseph H. Cook, Associate Professor of Public Affairs

Sponsored by Washington State University’s Water Research Center, Associate Professor Joseph H. Cook, along with an Evans School Ph.D. student, is reassessing the benefit-cost analysis of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan in response the Washington State Legislature’s charge to assess the economic benefits of improvements in fish populations and increased use of market-based water transfers. The work represents the first phase of the project.

SEP: A Sustainable Pathway to Terawatt-Scale Solution-Processed Solar Cells from Earth Abundant Elements

Allison Cullen

Alison Cullen, Professor of Public Affairs

Professor Alison Cullen is part of a team of investigators led by Professor Hugh Hillhouse from the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Washington, working to elaborate a viable sustainable energy pathway (SEP) for the large-scale manufacturing of photovoltaics from inexpensive, low toxicity, Earth-abundant elements funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Sustainable Energy Pathways program. (A SEP must yield high-value energy—electricity and fuels—at or below the price of non-renewable sources of energy.) The investigators are working to address the fundamental scientific and technological barriers that stand in the way; evaluate the environmental impact of the large-scale mining, purification, and utilization of the elements involved; and deploy prototypes of the new photovoltaic devices on the University of Washington campus to demonstrate the efficacy of the technology, educate the public, and increase market penetration and acceptance of the emerging technology. An integral part of this work is the training of graduate students who will be exposed to the challenges of developing a sustainable energy pathway—from elements and molecules in the earth to product deployment and recycling. The development of this SEP will result in a core science and technology to sustainably generate electricity from photovoltaics at a scale that can alter the global demand for electricity from non-renewables.

Communication, Search, and Mobile Phones: A Telephone Directory Intervention in Tanzania

Brian Dillon

Brian Dillon, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs

Sponsored by the University of California, Davis, BASIS Assets and Market Access Innovation Lab, Assistant Professor Brian Dillon and team are researching the extent to which smallholder farmers in Tanzania directly benefit from a telephone directory that lists contact information for a wide range of locally based enterprises. They will measure the impact of the directory both on the households that receive it and the firms that are listed. The BASIS Assets and Market Access Innovation Lab is comprised of researchers from around the globe who operate in support of USAID’s Bureau for Food Security.

Labor markets and household enterprises: Evidence from new nationally representative surveys in five African countries.

Brian Dillon, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs

Household enterprises, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, are critical to the economies of low-income countries. Economic theory makes sharp predictions about the participation of household enterprises as both buyers and sellers in local labor markets. These households, then, can provide a window into the functioning of labor markets. This is the essence of the sharp tests of separability developed in Benjamin (1992) and applied to household survey data for a range of countries and conditions in the intervening years. The proposed research extends the theory in Benjamin (1992) to cover problems of correlated market failures, supervisory labor, and gender differentiation of tasks. What we do not know is whether factor markets truly fail farmers, or whether markets work well but the central problem is simply that rural Africans are endowed with a quantity and quality of land and labor insufficient to generate returns, at market prices, leading to sustained growth out of poverty. This is a critical knowledge gap. If well-established, theoretically grounded tests for market failures indicate that factor markets actually work well in SSA, the implication will be that more attention should be paid to output markets, or to increasing the value (above current market prices) of the land and labor that constitute the primary endowments of agrarian households in Africa. The aim of this paper is to fill this important knowledge gap. Using newly available data from the Living Standard Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture Initiative (LSMS-ISA), we will comprehensively test for market failures in five of the major economies of sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda). These data are nationally representative, recently collected, agriculturally intensive, and comparable across countries. As the first data sets of this kind, they present a unique, high-value opportunity to make progress on important questions about agriculture in Africa such as the proposed.

The Global Emergence of NGO and Nonprofit Voluntary Regulation

Mary Kay Gugerty

Mary Kay Gugerty, Nancy Bell Evans Professor in Nonprofit Management

Nancy Bell Evans Professor in Nonprofit Management Mary Kay Gugerty, along with her colleague Aseem Prakash, Department of Political Science, researches what factors drive the emergence of voluntary regulatory programs in the nonprofit sector and variations in their program design. Recent increases in nonprofit voluntary standard-setting or certification programs can be understood as way for nonprofits to respond to reputational problems: Voluntary programs obligate nonprofits to adhere to specific requirements, signaling sound organizational policies to external stakeholders who cannot observe the internal operation of nonprofits. This research examines a global inventory of more than 300 nonprofit voluntary programs to understand the drivers of program emergence across nations and sectors and the factors underlying variations in program design, to develop a database and analyze program emergence, structure, and effectiveness across countries and across nonprofit sectors.

Developing Decision-Driven M&E Systems

Mary Kay Gugerty, Nancy Bell Evans Professor in Nonprofit Management

Associate Professor of Public Affairs Nancy Bell Evans Professor in Nonprofit Management Mary Kay Gugerty has received $64,047 as one of two principal investigators on a Google Innovations for Poverty Action grant entitled "The Goldilocks Project: Developing Decision-Driven M&E Systems." Through this project, researchers from Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) will work one-on-one with key donors, NGOs, and technology-based development organizations to document current systems, identify critical challenges to performance management and evaluation, and propose systematic approaches to these challenges. PIs will work with these researchers and data to support the production of a set of toolkits and case studies, as well as academic publications including journal articles and a book.

The Impact of an Information Intervention on Students' College Preferences

Crystal Hall

Crystal Hall, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs

The Association for Institutional Research has awarded Evans School Ph.D. student Helen Kilber a grant to research whether students, parents, school counselors, and teachers are able to use information on college prices and quality to rate colleges purely on their value as investments in lifetime earnings. Kilbur will also investigate whether groups associated with low-income and high-income schools vary in their rating ability. Kilbur is advised by Assistant Professor Crystal Hall.

City of Seattle—HUD Challenge Grant

Rachel Garshick Kleit

Rachel Garshick Kleit, Affiliate Professor

The City of Seattle has awarded Affiliate Professor Rachel Kleit and Senior Lecturer Dan Carlson a grant to monitor and evaluate its $3 million HUD Community Challenge Grant, Community Cornerstones, over the next three years. Community Cornerstones focuses on the geographic area of southeast Seattle and the five station areas along the LINK light rail line. It includes three inter-related interventions:

  1. Assisting affordable housing developers to acquire sites at station areas.
  2. Stabilizing and strengthening commercial districts.
  3. Planning for a shared multicultural community center (MCC).

The research will examine whether the city’s planned interventions will benefit existing as well as future residents, reducing gentrification and displacement.

Understanding Government Commitment to Inclusive Development: The Role of Mass Movements


Steven Kosack

Stephen Kosack, Associate Professor of Public Affairs

Sponsored by the University of Manchester, UK, Associate Professor Stephen Kosack’s research asks how mass movements aimed at changing public policy or political institutions originate and when they succeed. His research team is developing the first comprehensive cross-national dataset of mass movements that will cover the nature and characteristics of all movements of more than 1,000 participants over the last two centuries in all countries worldwide (this project covers a portion of the completion of the dataset). When finished, the dataset will permit the first rigorous analyses of the role of mass movements in policy and political change, such as democratization, increasing government responsiveness, and improving the provision of public goods such as health care and education to the benefit of lower socioeconomic groups. It will have additional analytical benefits as well: it will allow for testing theories about the origin and success of mass movements that have until now been examined only in specific cases, including the role of political, material, and social deprivation; the availability of resources either from within the movement or from outside; and political institutions that require compromise or allow airing of many viewpoints. And it will allow examination of how movement characteristics shape their capacity for action, their likelihood of surviving repression, and their ability to shape politics. Such insights will assist citizens hoping to understand the experience of past movements, policymakers hoping to engage with newly active citizens, and scholars hoping to explain the implications of mass movements to the relationship between governments and societies.

Transparency for Development: From Transparency to Accountability, Delivery, and Impact

Stephen Kosack, Associate Professor of Public Affairs

Associate Professor Stephen Kosack is helping to lead a multi-stage, multi-country evaluation of whether, how, and in what contexts transparency and accountability (T/A) interventions, such as community score cards and social audits, improve health care and health outcomes.  The project is co-funded by the Hewlett Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the UK Department for International Development.  It will involve development of a new T/A intervention, co-designed with several local CSO partners; an initial phase in which the project team evaluates the intervention in Indonesia and Tanzania with randomized controlled trials integrated with extensive qualitative evaluation, so as to understand the impact of the new intervention, the mechanisms behind this impact, and the complex relationship between these mechanisms and contextual factors; and a second phase with between one and four additional mixed-method evaluations, which will explore the generalizability of both the first phase results and the theoretical implications of them for mechanisms and the role of context.  The goals of the project are to provide the empirical basis for a theory of the impact of T/A on development and a range of new tools for practitioners, both of T/A as well as sectoral health experts considering using T/A interventions.  Prof. Kosack’s collaborators on the project are Archon Fung and Dan Levy of the Harvard Kennedy School and Jean Arkedis and Courtney Tolmie of the Results for Development Institute in Washington, DC.

Evaluation of the Sustainability and Effectiveness of Inquiry-Based Advanced Placement Science Courses: Evidence from an In-Depth Formative Evaluation and a Randomized Controlled Study

Mark Long

Mark C. Long, Associate Professor of Public Affairs

Sponsored by the Discovery Research K–12 program of the Directorate for Education & Human Resources Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation, Associate Professor Mark Long, along with his colleagues Dylan Conger from The George Washington University and Raymond McGhee of SRI, International, is conducting an evaluation over the course of four years of a revised high school science curriculum across the country which emphasizes depth of inquiry and application as opposed to the acquisition of limited knowledge. The findings can be used by the College Board and educators to strengthen the teaching of advanced science courses in high school.

Practice-Based Research in Public Health: Public Health Delivery and Cost Studies

Justin Marlowe

Justin Marlowe, Professor of Public Finance and Civic Engagement

Despite tremendous national efforts in the past decade to advance public health system performance in the U.S., the efforts and effectiveness of our public health systems continue to be undermined by a profoundly misaligned financing system for health service delivery. As a result, local communities are not equitably served by this system. Evans School Professor of Public Finance and Civic Engagement Justin Marlowe, in partnership with Washington state’s Public Health Practice-Based Research Network, is conducting research to address the major knowledge gaps in public health practice, research, and policy-making to assure equitable public health capacity. Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this research will greatly advance Washington state’s efforts toward addressing the gaps that lead to inequitable health service delivery, and contribute directly to a national understanding of these issues.

Review of the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program

Steve Page

Stephen Page, Associate Professor of Public Affairs

Associate Professor Stephen Page, in partnership with the William D. Ruckelshaus Center and sponsored by the Puget Sound Partnership, will conduct a interview-based process review of the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (the Program), which is tasked with evaluating progress toward ecosystem recovery. The review will assess whether the Program is achieving essential characteristics such as transparent decision-making, availability and credibility of data, and accountability and trust, and if necessary include recommendations for improvement such as an alternative governance structure. 

The University of Washington and the Division of Child Support: A Partnership Begins

Robert Plotnick

Robert D. Plotnick, Daniel J. Evans Professor of Public Affairs and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Daniel J. Evans Professor of Public Affairs Robert Plotnick works with the Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS) to improve the analysis and interpretation of child support program data. The intent of this partnership is to jointly develop a research and evaluation agenda that will better inform policy decision-making and program implementation of the state’s child support enforcement activities. Achieving the goals of this collaboration will help lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship between DCS and the University of Washington. Plotnick is working with DCS staff to design a detailed plan of research, implement field demonstrations of new or modified enforcement tools aimed at reducing non-compliance with child support orders, analyze data from the demonstrations, produce reports and research articles based on the findings, and to incorporate the findings into future policy and administrative practices. This project is funded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future: Legacy and Implications for the Future

Marla Salmon

Marla Salmon, Senior Visiting Fellow

Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Senior Visiting Fellow Marla Salmon is providing expert strategic advice and consultation to the Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future and Northwest Health Foundation collaboration in three primary areas. The first is to enable successful project transition to develop and achieve project legacy goals, the second is to perform outreach regarding program outcomes and best practices, and the third is to provide insights into how the philanthropic model used for the current project can be adapted and implemented for future projects. 

Empowering Women & Strengthening Health Systems Through Nursing and Midwifery: Implications of Innovative Global Models for the US

Marla Salmon, Senior Visiting Fellow

Led by Senior Vising Fellow Marla Salmon and sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this project aims to identify, explicate, and inform translations of models and lessons learned for the US nursing community related to innovative investment in nursing and midwifery training and enterprise practices, and strengthening of community-based health services in lower income countries. 

Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future: Legacy project continuation

Marla Salmon, Senior Visiting Fellow

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) undertook Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future (PIN) in collaboration with Northwest Health Foundation (NWHF) to support innovative partnerships to address local nursing workforce issues. Now nearing completion, PIN is focusing its work on both project transition and legacy. To support this work, RWJF awarded the Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future: Legacy and Implications for the Future —the “Legacy Project”—grant in 2013. The project will end prior to completion of PIN, whose work on both legacy and transition will continue for several months.  This project is aimed at providing strategic advice and consultation to PIN to (1) enable successful project transition and (2) provide insights and advice regarding the philanthropic model utilized in the project with respect to implications for the future. The aims of this project have been developed in consultation with RWJF staff and align with both the immediate and longer term strategic intentions of the PIN project and team plans.