Evidence-Based Policymaking Resource Center

A collection of resources and promising state and county examples

In 2014, the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative developed a framework for state and county leaders interested in evidence-based policymaking. This framework consists of five key components to help governments use rigorous evidence and data to guide policy and funding decisions.

This resource center contains resources that Results First has produced on each component, including briefs exploring their key elements, fact sheets highlighting best practices to approaching each one, and analyses of states and counties implementing them in their jurisdictions. State and local government leaders can use this resource center to explore new ideas, identify promising practices, and inform their own strategies for creating a more effective government. Below, please find links to these resources.

The five key components of evidence-based policymaking:

Program assessment

Program assessment


Review public programs to understand their evidence base.
Budget development

Budget development


Use evidence of program effectiveness in budget processes to make more informed investment choices.
Implementation oversight

Implementation oversight


Support effective implementation to ensure the benefits of evidence-based programs are achieved.
Outcome monitoring

Outcome monitoring


Measure and report outcome data to determine whether programs or priorities are achieving desired results.
Targeted evaluation

Targeted evaluation


Support impact evaluations of select public programs to learn what works.
Evidence-based policymaking
Evidence-based policymaking
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How States Engage in Evidence-Based Policymaking

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Evidence-based policymaking is the systematic use of findings from program evaluations and outcome analyses (“evidence”) to guide government policy and funding decisions. By focusing limited resources on public services and programs that have been shown to produce positive results, governments can expand their investments in more cost-effective options, consider reducing funding for ineffective programs, and improve the outcomes of services funded by taxpayer dollars.