November 23, 2022
This study explores the feasibility of evaluating neighbourhood-based initiatives using secondary data. As a case study, we consider the Pathfinders programme, an area-based UK intervention and evaluate its impact on a broad range of outcomes in both short and longer term. We use grid reference data from a household panel survey to identify individuals living in ‘treated’ areas before and after and appropriate control individuals living in ‘untreated’ areas. Using a difference-in-difference approach complemented with matching, we find that the programme had positive effects on reported neighbourhood problems as well as on local social interaction, which was not an intended outcome. We also show the practical usefulness of combining secondary data and geographical identifiers to evaluate area-based policies. Using data not collected for this purpose enables the consideration of a broad range of intended and unintended outcomes over the long-run. A drawback of the approach is to require large scale geographical initiatives to ensure a sufficient number of targeted units.
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
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