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Abstract

Program review has increased substantially in recent years. There has been concern that the upsurge in policy evaluation would be detrimental to social welfare programs, where data is often unavailable, little agreement exists concerning specific goals and documenting success is often virtually impossible. In this analysis we compared the program evaluation of social welfare programs with non-social welfare programs. The review process differed substantially as did the recommendation made as a result of the review. Social welfare programs faced more criticisms than non-social welfare programs. However, the criticisms were less serious. Changes prior to the publication of the evaluation report were more common for social welfare programs. They were also considerably more likely to make significant administrative changes--action that helps then avoid legislative involvement. lon-social welfare programs were more than twice as likely to face changes mandated by the legislature. Those findings indicate that social welfare programs are not experiencing adverse consequences as a result of mandatory reviews.

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