This study is a preliminary study intended to apply meta-evaluation methodologies for mid- to long-term plans derived from "A Study on Meta-evaluation Measures for the Government's Mid- to Long-term Plans" (National Assembly Futures Institute, 2019) to the 3rd Basic Plan on Low Fertility and Aging Society (Revised Version), which is a representative mid- to long-term plan in the social policy area. This study, therefore, conducted a meta-evaluation of this plan.
This study, based on the STEEP methodology, namely, an analysis of the policy environment of the social policy area in relation to society, technology, economy, ecology, and politics, examined economic factors such as increased life expectancy, increases in support expenses, and the crisis in the pension system that are in line with continuing and deepening trends related to the low birth rate and accelerated population aging, improved education levels and the growing economic activities of women, the rise in the number of nuclear families, increased costs of housing and children's education, instability in the labor market, and medical technology advancements based on economic growth, and the rise in consumption levels.
In consideration of the criteria of validity, fidelity, and feasibility for the meta-evaluation, the evaluation was conducted focusing on the check-list in terms of the composition, establishment procedure, and contents of the 3rd Basic Plan on Low Fertility and Aging Society (Revised Version). The aspect of composition includes formal aspects such as the purpose of a mid- to long-term plan, its legal basis, and the subjects of implementation of the plan, and the aspect of establishment procedure includes aspects to be considered in the mid- to long-term plan establishment process, such as cooperation between implementation subjects, stakeholders' participation, and the evaluation and feedback regarding the previous plan.
The aspect of contents includes setting the goals of policies in the mid- to long-term plan and methods and data for the analysis of policy environment. As a result of a comprehensive analysis, as the Basic Plan on Low Fertility and Aging Society is a plan to tackle low fertility and the aging population, which together will have the biggest impact on the future and will require much time and many policy efforts to address this issue, it was deemed necessary to promote the plan in a consistent way with long-term goals for a period of at least 10 years.
It was also found necessary to predict the future and preemptively take into account changes in the mid- to long-term policy environment for the plan. Lastly, it was pointed out that the plan lacked the details regarding the principles for the establishment of the plan, the grounds for the prioritization of each policy, the principles for financial distribution, what matters have been discussed among stakeholders, and whether the academic basis for the policy effects had been confirmed.
Based on this study, it is necessary to continuously conduct research to specialize and advance mid- to long-term meta-evaluation for various social policies in the future.