What is evidence based policy making?

Evidence-based policymaking uses the best available research and information on program results to guide
decisions at all stages of the policy process and in each branch of government. It identifies what works, highlights
gaps where evidence of program effectiveness is lacking, enables policymakers to use evidence in budget
and policy decisions, and relies on systems to monitor implementation and measure key outcomes, using the
information to continually improve program performance. By taking this approach, governments can:


  • Reduce wasteful spending. By using evidence on program outcomes to inform budget choices, policymakers can identify and eliminate ineffective programs, freeing up dollars for other uses.
  • Expand innovative programs. Requiring that new and untested programs undergo rigorous evaluation helps determine whether they work and identifies opportunities to target funding to innovative initiatives that deliver better outcomes to residents or reduce costs.
  • Strengthen accountability. Collecting and reporting data on program operations and outcomes makes it easier to hold agencies, managers, and providers accountable for results.
Passage from:  Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Nov 2014
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