Evidence of Evidence
Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-02-24
How do we measure commitment to "evidence-based" policy?
While use of evidence in decision-making is important to assess any manager, the use by politicians is of great concern to all, especially if they indicate, explicitly or implicitly, that policy decisions will be evidence-based.
It’s a bit hard to figure out what such indicators might be, so I’m hoping readers will add comments with their own ideas, and perhaps point to the good, the bad, and the ugly.
To start the ball rolling, here are a couple of thoughts:
- When an expert committee (or a lead like Garnaut) makes a very strong recommendation, and the government makes a very different decision, should the government provide an addendum to (actually it is a rebuttal of) the report explaining the reasons?
- When the committee or lead was appointed by the Government, then a detailed rebuttal (perhaps citing more recent evidence) should be mandatory.
- The rebuttal should be available from the same place as the initial report.
- How big an impact should require how detailed a rebuttal? Could this be a percentage of GDP? What if the values are intangible (such as a recommendation to create a Bill of Rights)?
- Should governments (and oppositions during election campaigns) detail their performance (or their performance if elected)?
- When reporting (or promising) indicators of evidence-based policy, this shouldn’t be purely numeric, but should be weighted by impact of the decision, and perhaps the length of the rebuttal compared to the length of the evidence presented by the experts.
I’ve got to think about this, but for the moment, over to you.