The Center for Economic Research in Pakistan seeks to bridge the gap between academic research and policy making in Pakistan by building meaningful engagements between the two that not only further scholarship but also help inform better policy design. Using established and frontier scientific research techniques to collect and analyze data we believe that decision makers can create and implement sound economic and social policies.
Our work currently looks at five key thematic areas in Pakistan: Firms and Organizations, Social Policy and Public Goods, Governance and Institutions, Macro Policy and Finance and Public Finance. We collaborate with governments, policymakers, civil society, and NGOs to promote the use of rigorous research methodology, accountability, and evidence-based decision-making.
In order to inform policymakers and promote accountability, our approach focuses on two main areas of economic development practice: Policy Research and Capacity Building.
CERP and its network affiliates have a long history of conducting rigorous empirical research in Pakistan. With numerous peer-reviewed publications in top tiered economic and policy journals, CERP’s research fellows constitute by far the most impressive publication credentials of any group that is working on Pakistan. Leveraging this rich academic base, CERP aims to build on its expertise and partner with government and local organizations to rigorously inform policy debate. Evidence based decision making is at the core of CERP’s research agenda which it aims to institutionalize in the public sphere of Pakistan. It hopes to do so by creating research engagements that allow for meaningful and sustained collaborations between policy actors and researchers that can generate both feasible policy design and frontier scholarship.
Some of our previous research has examined the evolution of the educational market-place through the LEAPS study, the challenges faced by the Pakistani financial sector, how to improve human-resource deployment in the bureaucracy through performance pay (tax department), and governance of public services. This work has had great impact not only in informing the policy debate but actually changing policy for the better.
CERP believes that an essential means to create the space for empirically driven policy is to build local capacity. This involves both working with current and future local scholars to further their technical skills but also pedagogical engagements with policy and civil society actors that not only seek to understand their challenges but also provide them with the frontier knowledge in the field of policy design and evaluation.
As part of these goals, CERP is part of the CLEAR global family, a multi-donor funded World Bank initiative, housed at the Independent Evaluations Group (IEG) in DC. CERP aims to build regional capacity through three key channels:
- Providing rigorous training in Monitoring and Evaluation and Performance Budgeting to government departments, NGOs, and research organizations working in Pakistan. In 2011-12, CERP successfully trained over 100 participants comprising of senior and mid-level government officials, professionals, and civil society actors. Courses ranged from more technical ones designed for data specialists to higher level executive courses catering to the strategic decision-making for heads of organizations.
- Engaging with stakeholders, through thematic policy briefs, roundtables and dialogues. CERP features it’s research in more accessible policy brief and op-ed formats in public and media outlets. It also aims to hold a range of policy dialogues with the aims of bringing together partner government organizations, researchers, policy makers, experts, and donors to generate debate on current issues, identify gaps, and plan evaluations to improve performance indicators.
- Giving support to various governmental, non-governmental and international organizations and departments on identifying key research questions and providing support with research design. CERP researchers believe high quality work that seeks to inform policy can only be conducted by establishing a direct relationship between researchers and policy actors. As a result of this CERP seeks to build meaningful and longer term relations which each of these policy counterparts.