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.

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Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

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Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.