The paper discusses the idea that the evaluation of public policies is witnessing a remarkable enlargement of its domain, in four relevant dimensions- its object, effect, methods, and data. Regarding the objects of evaluation, policy makers are increasingly interested not only in the evaluation of the content of policies (output) or the result (outcome), but also on a broader notion of impact, which includes direct and indirect effects, on the sub-system under analysis and on society at large. Regarding the effects of policies, the paper calls the attention on the rising of the notion of conditionality, requiring more flexible and sophisticated approaches for in itinere evaluation. With respect to new methods, the paper discusses new developments in counterfactual methods, robust nonparametric approaches (robust and conditional), as well as methods to deal with non commensurable indicators. Finally, the implications for evaluation of policies of the availability of microdata from public sources are examined. In all these devekopments new challenges are identified, calling for advanced methodological and quantitative work.
Keywords: Impact evaluation, conditionally, counterfactual, non parametric methods, microdata.