April 28 2022

The COST Action funded consortium, PROFEEDBACK is organising the conference titled Evaluation of public policy responses to ’black swans’. The event will take place in person in Budapest on April 28th 2022. The Conference brings together researchers and policymakers from European states, universities, research institutes and consultancies. Its aim is to identify the most significant challenges posed by black swan events from the evaluation community’s perspective.
An event may be considered a black swan, provided that it is (1) unpredictable to the observer, (2) it has a major effect, and (3) after its occurrence, it is rationalized by people in retrospect, as if it could have been expected. Such events entail, for instance, the rise of the Internet and the personal computer, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, or the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Other events commonly referred to as black swans include (but are not limited to) the 1929 Great Depression, the 2001 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the BREXIT vote in 2016, and as of late, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although many of the commonly considered black swan events are crises, not all black swans are crises and not all crises are truly black swans. Nevertheless, all black swan events are known to shake existing public policy to the core and lead to swift paradigm changes in policymaking. It is the purpose of the conference to explore how black swans – in particular, black swans of the past decade – have influenced both the process of policy making as well as the outcomes of policy globally across all sectors. Furthermore, the conference aims to unroot what policy evaluation resources and methodologies exist that inform, or could potentially inform stakeholders’ risk detection and risk mitigation strategies with regards to extreme and seemingly unpredictable events.
A main objective of the conferences is to facilitate knowledge exchange and identification of new practices, in order to provide input to the PROFEEDBACK network. The event will give space for important theory-based and practical/methodological focused discussions whose outcomes will be published in the form of a dedicated conference volume, PROFEEDbook. Additionally, it will contribute to setting the research agenda and provide an overview on the most urging issues for the Action, discussing transferable practices and comparative examples for the evaluation community.