The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Analyzing Program Evaluation Methodologies

What is "Evidence-Based" Policymaking?
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 1516-04
April 12, 2016
Sam
Libby
Joby
Bernstein
Michael
Baicker
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Executive Summary

This report addresses the goal of effective and efficient governance. The New Hampshire legislature receives a number of policy proposals each session claiming to be “evidence- based” but has no program evaluation mechanism. Proposals use different definitions and frameworks, and the legislature does not currently have one standard program methodology. In this report, we outline the importance of evidence-based policymaking, define what it means to be “evidence-based” and “cost-effective,” offer a quality assessment tool for evaluating whether a proposal effectively uses evidence, and discuss possible models New Hampshire could adopt for program assessment. We present several procedures that the legislature can use to determine the results, costs, and benefits from policy proposals. We then analyze these frameworks and evaluate them in terms of their practicality, their efficiency, and their relative strength compared to programs in other states. We then present several strategies used by other states that the legislature can introduce. 

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