Alexander Starritt
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Over the past 20 years, increasing momentum has been gathering behind the idea that governments need to apply scientific standards of proof to making decisions about policy. The drive towards evidence-based policymaking is a drive towards a rationalist dream: that hard evidence can remove partisan wrangling from the equation and, instead, turn policymaking into a scientific process,... Read More

Portrait of Magdalena Soel
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In this interview with Robert Kirkpatrick, director of UN Global Pulse, he discusses the role of big data in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and outlines three areas of impact. Global Pulse is an initiative of the United Nations that works to harness data science for sustainable development and humanitarian action.

Portrait of Magdalena Soel
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In 2007, George Overholser delivered a speech in Florida, at America Forward’s Gathering of Leaders, in which he proposed a $1 billion social investment fund to advance proven intervention programs with a combination of social returns to beneficiaries and fiscal returns to government. This was the first write-up of his idea of “money back guarantees.” Mark Warner, who was governor of... Read More

Portrait of Magdalena Soel
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When I started my stint as a public servant with a prior background in the private sector, one question puzzled me and continued to remain in my mind: Why does government spending and activities tend to focus on inputs rather than outcome or impact? As time passed, I was able to see and understand various reasons behind this approach: government spending is often tied to legislative... Read More

Zoila Llempen
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When talking about international development, it is often said that fixed recipes do not work well in every context. Pretending that, as an outsider, one could determine what should be done to fix or improve the provision of public services in a certain context based in what worked in another place is risky and can even be harmful. This was the dilemma that the Peruvian government faced... Read More

Melissa Bender
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Data-driven policy. Managing for results. Evidence-based programming. We hear these phrases in the policy community constantly but what do they mean? And, when did this drive for evidence become so popular among social scientists and policymakers? The policy community uses all three phrases above to refer to data collection systems that allow policymakers to continuously learn from the... Read More

Michael Ward
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In theory, data-driven government and performance management should be widespread in local government, given the abundance of technology available and the clear interest in running the most efficient and effective operations. In practice, it’s not, at least not here in Massachusetts. Public works provides a clear example. Elected officials and the public want to know about the... Read More

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Each day, throughout the world, public officials and practitioners face the daunting task of creating solutions to society's most pressing problems, as they strive to improve the lives of their citizens. These dedicated public servants are under pressure to do more with increasingly limited resources, and to be more effective and efficient. Repeatedly, history has shown that continuing to... Read More