Evidence-Based Policymaking: A Guide for Effective Government

Evidence-Based Policymaking: A Guide for Effective Government

In today's fiscal environment, policymakers face tough budget and policy choices that affect the outcomes they can deliver for citizens. By using rigorous evidence to inform these decisions, policymakers can achieve substantially better results by funding and operating public programs that are proven to work.

Evidence-based Policymaking: A Guide for Effective Government—a new report by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative—outlines the first comprehensive framework that policymakers can follow to build a system of evidence-based governing. By leveraging the power of this approach, governments can reduce wasteful spending, expand innovative programs, and strengthen accountability.

The report presents five key components to implementing evidence-based policymaking:

  • Program assessment. Systematically reviewing available evidence on the effectiveness of public programs.
  • Budget development. Incorporating evidence of program effectiveness into budget and policy decisions, giving funding priority to programs that deliver a high return on investment of public funds.
  • Implementation oversight. Ensuring that programs are effectively delivered and are faithful to their intended design.
  • Outcome monitoring. Routinely measuring and reporting outcome data to determine whether interventions are achieving desired results.
  • Targeted evaluation. Conducting rigorous evaluations of new and untested programs to ensure that they warrant continued funding.

Evidence-based policymaking is a growing national trend aimed at making government work more effectively. This guide provides the details, tips, and strategies that policymakers can use to instill evidence in decision-making at all levels of government.

Download the full report.

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.
ian-hutchinson-U8WfiRpsQ7Y-unsplash.jpg_master

Agenda for America

A collection of resources to help federal, state, and local decision-makers set an achievable agenda for all Americans

Quick View

Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.

Lightbulbs
Lightbulbs

States of Innovation

Data-driven state policy innovations across America

Quick View

Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.