Evidence-Based Policy Making: What is It? How Do We Get It?
ANU Public Lecture Series, Productivity Commission, Canberra, February 4, 2009
31 Pages Posted: 29 May 2010
Date Written: May 29, 2009
What is evidence-based policy making? How can it contribute to better policy outcomes? Productivity Commission Chairman Gary Banks addressed these questions in a recent speech to the Australian and New Zealand School of Government. An edited extract of his speech follows.
Addressing senior public servants in April last year, the Prime Minister observed that ‘evidence-based policy making is at the heart of being a reformist government’. Tonight I want to explore why that is profoundly true; what it means in practice, and some implications for those of us in public administration. In doing so, I will draw on the experience of the Productivity Commission - which with its predecessors has been at the heart of evidence-based policy making in Australia for over three decades - to distil some insights into what is needed across government generally if we are to be successful. Policy decisions will typically be influenced by much more than objective evidence, or rational analysis. Values, interests, personalities, timing, circumstance and happenstance - in short, democracy - determine what actually happens. But evidence and analysis can nevertheless play a useful, even decisive, role in informing policy-makers’ judgements. Importantly, they can also condition the political environment in which those judgements need to be made.
Keywords: Public Policy. Evidence-based policy, Policy Reforms, Monetary Policy, Government Policy
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