Journal article Open Access

Building Momentum for Evidence-Based Policymaking in State and Local Governments

Myers, Hannah; Naimpally, Rohit


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    "description": "<p>What if policymakers allocated government funding based on scientific evidence of what works, instead of anecdote, status quo, or political belief? In most major policy debates, compelling&mdash;but theoretical&mdash; arguments can be made on both sides. But despite increasing pressure to &ldquo;use big data&rdquo; to inform decisions especially when resources are scarce, it&rsquo;s often challenging for policymakers to disaggregate the impacts of a specific program from broader economic and societal conditions&mdash;and to separate good research from bad. By using data they already collect and applying the same scientific tool that transformed modern medicine&mdash;randomized evaluations&mdash;to social policy, researchers and policymakers can work together to cut through opinion and build an arsenal of rigorous evidence in its place. &nbsp;<br>\n&nbsp;<br>\nDespite the hyperpartisan climate of politics in many areas of the world today, the evidence-based policymaking movement is gaining traction. In the United States, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, Democratic Senator Patty Murray and President Obama came together last year to enact legislation creating a federal Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, which aims to develop a strategy for increasing the availability and use of data to build evidence about government programs. State and local governments&mdash;who are collectively responsible for spending $2.5 trillion each year (about 40 percent of the total government spending)&mdash;are also joining in. In Washington State, for example, state human services departments track and report the percentage of funding allocated for evidence-based and/or research-based programs. &nbsp;<br>\n&nbsp;<br>\nReorienting government decision-making to identify and fund programs that work can be slow and challenging, but can make a real difference in people&rsquo;s lives. We offer five concrete steps state and local policymakers can take to use data effectively and ensure the greatest return on taxpayer dollars</p>", 
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    "publication_date": "2017-09-04", 
    "creators": [
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        "affiliation": "Massachusetts Institute of Technology", 
        "name": "Myers, Hannah"
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        "affiliation": "J-PAL North America", 
        "name": "Naimpally, Rohit"
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      "acronym": "Data for Policy", 
      "url": "http://dataforpolicy.org/", 
      "dates": "6-7 September 2017", 
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      "title": "Data for Policy 2017: Government by Algorithm?"
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