Claudia Buch during her speech in Halle ©Nils Thies

Evaluation of financial market reforms – lessons from other policy areas and disciplines

The financial crisis saw the adoption and implementation of new regulatory rules in the international financial markets. The task of coordinating their implementation was entrusted to the Financial Stability Board (FSB). It is now time to review the impact of those reforms. The FSB took up the mantle (see box entitled “Evaluation of financial market regulatory reforms” in the 2017 Financial Stability Review). 
What lessons can be drawn from experiences in other policy areas and applied to the evaluation of financial market reforms? This question was discussed at an interdisciplinary workshop in Halle organised by the Bundesbank together with the German National Academy of Sciences (the Leopoldina). The Bundesbank and the Leopoldina have now published the results in the form of a joint volume of proceedings. 
Representatives from the spheres of academia and administration formed four high-calibre panels to discuss experiences from different policy fields: the labour market, families, healthcare and financial markets. They identified factors that support the successful interaction of policymakers and academia when evaluating policy measures. The core questions were how good evaluations can be achieved, what conditions are necessary for a proactive evaluation culture in the policymaking process and in academia – and how to facilitate better dialogue between both parties.

Enhanced information base in the interest of all

The participants unanimously agreed on one point: everyone will benefit from an improved information base, as more evidence for political decision-making processes would be in the interest of society. However, the discussion revealed that multiple factors are relevant to successful evaluations. First, all parties would have to firmly believe that evidence-based decisions are beneficial and appropriate. Moreover, the participants noted that it would be helpful if the obligation to perform evaluations were embedded in law, ensuring conflicts of interest are avoided and the necessary resources are provided. Second, they found that access to relevant information, via digital platforms for instance, has to be ensured. Only then could everyone participate in the dialogue. Third, the necessary data should also be available, including to external researchers. And last but not least, incentives to back up political decision-making processes with sound research-evidence should be enhanced in the academic community.