Evidence-Based Policymaking

pew-logoIn 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.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative works with states to implement an innovative cost-benefit analysis approach that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proven to work.

Evidence-based Policymaking: A Guide for Effective Government — a new report by the Pew 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
  • Budget development
  • Implementation oversight
  • Outcome monitoring
  • Targeted evaluation

Helpful Links and Resources

Our Defining Levels of Evidence Fact Sheet: Creating formal definitions of levels of evidence provides a common language for discussions about programs’ demonstrated effectiveness. The Pew Results First Initiative reviewed states’ legislative and administrative language, identified the best examples, and created suggested definitions based on them.

Our Legislating Evidence-Based Policymaking Issue Brief: Provides a look at state laws that support data-driven decision-making.