How States Engage in Evidence-Based Policymaking

How States Engage in Evidence-Based Policymaking

The states of Washington, Utah, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Oregon are leading the way in building and using evidence to inform their policy and budget decisions, a report from the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative finds. The report, How States Engage in Evidence-Based Policymaking (50 pages, PDF), ranked states based on six actions demonstrating engagement in evidence-based policy making — define tiers of evidence, inventory existing programs, compare costs and benefits, report outcomes, target funds to evidence-based programs, and require action through state law — in four policy areas. In addition to the five leading states, the report found that eleven states demonstrate established levels of evidence-based policy making, twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia demonstrate modest levels, and seven states — Montana, West Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Maryland, and New Hampshire — lag in their use of evidence to inform their policy and budget decisions. Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the report concludes that as governments struggle to generate more value with each dollar, they would be well served to engage in evidence-based policy making in all six areas.