Swiss Parliaments and Evaluation

The focus of this subproject is on the legislative branch of the Swiss political systems, the parliaments, and its relation to evaluation. In order to analyze the role of evaluation in the parliamentary arena, this subproject includes questions about the reasons, and consequences of evaluation. In its leading questions the subprojects asks if or how the parliament plays a role as a stimulator of evaluation activities, as an evaluation producing facility or as a user of information provided by evaluation studies. More specifically, the following three research questions are addressed:

  1. What factors explain the development of the evaluation culture in parliament?
  2. What factors explain the stimulation of evaluations by members of parliament? Why do legislatives stimulate more evaluations in certain policy fields than in others?
  3. How are evaluations used in parliament for the task of legislation? What influence does this utilization have?

This subproject analyzes the relationship of policy evaluation and parliaments on the basis of an online-survey with nearly 3’000 members of parliaments on the federal and cantonal level, on the one hand, and on the basis of case studies on the other hand. These case studies will be realized in three cantons (Berne, Geneva, and Zurich) and within three policy sectors (education, energy, and health). Moreover, the analysis of the federal and cantonal parliamentary laws will show how the legal foundation of policy evaluation has developed in the parliaments. As a consequence, the subproject 4 takes both a cross-sectional and longitudinal perspective.


Project leaders:

Prof. Dr. Thomas Widmer
Dr. Kathrin Frey


Ph.D. Students:

Pirmin Bundi
Daniela Eberli



University of Zurich
Department of Political Science
Affolternstrasse 56
CH-8050 Zurich