Poor evaluations undermining public policy initiatives, report finds

Feb 05, 2013

Governments are making decisions based on incomplete information and evidence that's often not subjected to adequate scrutiny, a Policy Brief prepared by the University of Melbourne has warned.

Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark—from the University's Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research—assessed the quality of policy evaluations commissioned by the Commonwealth and state governments.

"Sound, independent program evaluation is crucial to ensuring taxpayers receive value for money, but the current evaluation system generally produces poor-quality evaluations that don't tell us very much," she said.

The report is the first of the Melbourne Institute's new Policy Briefs Series that will examine current policy issues and provide an independent platform for .

"The results of these evaluations are typically not independent, transparent or widely distributed," according to Professor Cobb-Clark.

"Unlike medical trials which must be registered, the results of economic and social policy evaluations are often buried when they do not suit politicians or policymakers. This makes it impossible to know what works and what does not."

Professor Cobb-Clark is calling for all policy evaluations to be made public as a matter of course.

"All evaluations conducted by or commissioned through the government should be published externally, perhaps with a short embargo period for journalists and to consider the findings," she said.

"The current lack of a willingness to commit to the publication of results has meant that Australian academics are increasingly disengaged from evaluations of major economic and social initiatives."

"This can lead to poor policy."

The full report, 'The Case for Making Public Policy Evaluations ', is available here.

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Strengthening the bond between policy and science

Mar 10, 2012

One only has to be reminded of the BSE crisis and the MMR vaccine scare to recognise the importance of having policy informed by the best available science. Now, a collaboration of over fifty academics and policy makers from ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2013
N. N. Taleb addresses Procrustean information and forecasting.

More news stories

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.