Evidence-Based Budgeting

On May 18, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that couldn’t be more critical to restoring public trust in government.

For the 2014 budget process, the office advised agencies to include information about how they plan to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs and link their disbursements to evidence. The office said a commitment to using evidence would make approval of budget requests more likely.

Without evidence, we rely on anecdote, ideology or faith. That’s the way things were done before the Enlightenment, when bloodletting was believed to cure everything from acne to epilepsy.

What’s different is not just that these programs have to be evaluated using scientific methods, but that funding is being tied to evidence-based models in the legislation.

Evidence isn’t important just for accountability; it’s essential for innovation.

DBM should be gearing up to issue a similar order: Show results = fund disbursement.

More of The Dawn of the Evidence-Based Budget here.

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