International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss


Understanding and Improving the Take-up of Public Programs: Lessons Learned from the Canadian and International Experience in Human Services
Pierre-Marc Daigneault, Steve Jacob, Maximilien Tereraho

Non-take-up of public programs is the phenomenon by which individuals do not utilize/participate in programs for which they are eligible. It is a significant phenomenon in OECD countries and should thus be a concern for decision makers. Although there is no dearth of evidence on take-up, there is clearly a need for ‘usable knowledge’ that is oriented towards practice. This evaluation synthesis aims to integrate evidence from various sources in order to better explain take-up and identify best practices to improve it. Data come from a rapid review of the literature, evaluation reports and interviews with managers. A theoretical framework, based on two overarching constructs, namely ‘knowledge’ and ‘positive net value’, is proposed to explain program take-up. Policy makers and program managers will find the proposed theoretical framework simpler to understand and to use than existing conceptualizations of program take-up. The lessons learned section also discusses four promising practices that could improve the take-up of public programs.

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