Saturday, December 20, 2008

Evidence and Policy

I recently did a review of an evaluation funded by the US Department of Labor for the folks at the Center for Evidence-Based Policy. My sense is that they are doing very good work. Their existence and occasional success indicates that there is a constituency among both of the major parties for spending money on policies with a strong evidentiary base and not spending money on things that do not have a strong evidentiary base.

It is worth keeping in mind that the problem is not just corruption in either the small sense that we usually think of it or the large sense of interest groups voting themselves rents at the expense of the public at large. Ignorance also plays an important role in the bad tasting product that emerges from the beltway sausage factory.