PLAN project (Prevision-making at the Local level: Anticipating what’s Next)

“We are all forecasters” (Tetlock et al. 2016) – when we drive, sign up for a course, or buy a house, we engage in forecasting. Prevision-making is key to most areas of our lives, including policy-making – and, yet, policy makers’ ability to forecast the impact of their decisions remains understudied. The PLAN project offers to dive into policy makers’ minds to unravel the cognitive and socioeconomic resources used to plan under uncertainty.

The Coronavirus outbreak was neither anticipated by stakeholders nor predicted by professional forecasters. Geopolitical uncertainty at the supranational and national levels currently places sub-national stakeholders in an unseen situation. How do local policymakers see the future of international mobility in a post-pandemic world?

The PLAN project seizes this historical moment to advance the understanding of forecasting and decision-making under uncertainty. To bring objective evidence to the study of future-oriented cognition, PLAN’s interdisciplinary, longitudinal, and cost-effective empirical design combines: (1) qualitative data (individual interviews and focus groups), (2) official statistical sources on local representatives, (3) survey data informing policy makers’ anticipations regarding the evolution of migration, and (4) high-quality administrative sources. The ex post comparisons of stakeholders’ anticipations (at T0 and T+1) with objective administrative data (at T+1 and T+2) will generate a novel diagnosis regarding prevision-making. These findings will be used to develop resources supporting policy-making in uncertain times.

Further to this, the PLAN project propels a nascent collaboration between the University of Oxford, in the UK, and Sciences Po, in France – a consortium uniquely positioned to further demonstrate how advances in contemporary sciences can contribute to better understand and support innovative policy-making.

Our team spans disciplines and countries. At the University of Oxford, the following researchers will take an active part in the PLAN project, under the lead of Jacqueline Broadhead, director of the Global Exchange on Migration and diversity (GEM) at COMPAS, a fellow of Kellog’s College, at the University of Oxford and an ICM international fellow: William Allen, Fellow by Examination at Magdalen College and COMPAS research officer; Denis Kierans, MigObs and GEM researcher; Nils Reimer, postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Experimental Psychology and a fellow of Brasenose College; and Olivia Spiegler, New College stipendiary lecturer and a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford.

GEM’s expertise in knowledge exchange activities and long-standing track record of collaboration with municipalities will be key to maximise the impact of this project; while the cooperation with Sciences Po and the Institut Convergences Migrations (ICM) will provide a ready-made audience for knowledge exchange activities in France.

On the French side, the project is led by Virginie Guiraudon, CNRS Director of Research at the Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics (CEE) at Sciences Po Paris and ICM fellow (POLICY department). The team comprises: Mathieu Ichou, tenured researcher at the INED, co-head of the International Migrations and Minorities (MIM) research unit, Associate Researcher at the Observatoire Sociologique du Changement (OSC) at Sciences Po and ICM fellow (POLICY department); Stefano Palminteri, head of the Human Reinforcement Learning team, at the Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives et Computationelles (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale & ENS, Paris); Valéry Ridde, Senior Researcher in Public Health and Global Health, at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement and ICM fellow (HEALTH department); Sorana Toma, Assistant Professor of Sociology in the CREST at the ENSAE-Université Paris-Saclay and ICM fellow (INTEGER department); Ilka Vari-Lavoisier, ERC postdoctoral fellow, COMPAS research affiliate, DIAL research associate, and ICM fellow (DYNAMICS department); as well as Tommaso Vitale, Associate Professor of Sociology at Sciences Po (CEE) and Director of the Master’s programme “Governing the Large Metropolis” at the École Urbaine.

Our advisory board is co-chaired by François Héran, Professor at the Collège de France, former INED Director, and current lead of the Institut Convergences Migrations in Paris, and Carlos Vargas-Silva, Director of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), a fellow of Kellog’s College, and Associate Professor at the University of Oxford. Further, the advisory board gathers world-class experts, from various fields, including Philip Tetlock, Annenberg University Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, faculty at Berkeley and The Ohio State University and a former Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford) and the Russell Sage Foundation; Barbara Mellers, George I. Heyman University Professor of Psychology, with cross-appointments in School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School, at the University of Pennsylvania; Joseph Kable, Baird Term Professor of Psychology, at the University of Pennsylvania; Olivier Borraz, director of the Center for the Sociology of Organizations (CSO) at Sciences Po  and a CNRS Senior Research fellow; Dace Dzenovska, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Oxford and an ERC Consolidator Grant holder; Florence Faucher, Professor of Political Science at Sciences Po (CEE), Associate Fellow at Nuffield College and in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, and OXPO Director; Camille Hamidi, Professor of Political Science at the Université Lyon II Lumière; Jeanne Lazarus, Sciences Po Senior researcher at the CSO; Olivier Pilmis, Sciences Po researcher in Macroeconomics at the CSO; Hillel Rapoport, Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, a member of Bar-Ilan University’s and chair of the DYNAMICS department of the ICM; Sarah Spencer, Director of Strategy and a Senior Fellow at COMPAS, former GEM Director, Chair of the Board of Directors of IMISCOE, and a member of Kellogg College at Oxford; Nicholas Van Hear, Senior Researcher at COMPAS and a member of St Cross College at the University of Oxford; as well as Alain Berthoz, Emeritus Professor at the Collège de France and former Director of the Perception and Action Lab (CNRS/Collège de France).