The Results First initiative worked with states to implement an innovative evidence-based policymaking approach that helped them invest in policies and programs that were proven to work.
Using Evidence to Deliver Results
States and counties spend billions of dollars on critical services and programs to help protect and improve public health, support reentry for individuals who were formerly incarcerated, and protect children from abuse and neglect—yet many state and county leaders lack comprehensive information about the impact of those expenditures. Results First aimed to fill that information gap.
From 2010 to 2023, the Results First initiative helped 27 states and 10 counties use evidence and customizable tools such as cost-benefit analysis to inform their policy and budget processes and direct funding to effective programs that can provide a return on taxpayer investments.
Initially, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts partnered on the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative from 2010 to 2019. This work equipped state and local decision-makers with resources to better evaluate their policy options, using research to identify program investments that can improve long-term public outcomes.
How We Conducted Our Work
Results First provided assistance and a suite of tools to help state and county leaders use evidence to improve their programs and policies. Those included:
- The Results First Clearinghouse Database, an online resource that brought together information on social policy programs from nine national clearinghouses.
- The Resource Center, a one-stop shop of the project’s research on evidence-based policymaking, including state-specific case studies.
- Customized trainings and technical assistance.
We supported state and county leaders who faced tough budget and policy choices by helping them identify programs that were proven to yield the greatest benefits, building a climate for decision-making that was based on research and evidence. Our approach and tools allowed states to better understand and assess existing efforts, prioritize investments in proven interventions, eliminate ineffective programs, and shift scarce resources to policies and programs that could generate better outcomes for their citizens.