The potential for a golden era of evidence-based policymaking has never been greater. The increased availability of data, new investments in rigorous research, and a growing public focus on results have given policymakers expanded abilities to determine whether public investments achieve their intended outcomes and to make informed choices based on evaluations of social costs and benefits. We believe that policy and practice rooted in evidence can lead to better use of taxpayer dollars and better outcomes for children, adults, and families. This brief describes four principles of evidence-based policymaking that policymakers, agency heads, and other public leaders can use to improve results in the public sector. These principles can serve as a foundation for a common policymaking framework. Although policymakers at different points on the ideological spectrum disagree on the proper size and scope of government services, all agree that the services government does provide should work well. An evidence-based policymaking framework may ultimately promote bipartisan collaboration in important policy areas.
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