What evidence should social policymakers use?
AbstractPolicymakers seeking empirical evidence on social policy interventions often find themselves confronted with a mountain of academic studies that are potentially relevant to the question. Without some systematic way to sort through the evidence, there is a risk that analysts will become mired in the research, or simply cherry-pick those studies that support their prior beliefs. An alternative approach is to test each study against a hierarchy of research methods. This article discusses two hierarchies — one used by US medical researchers, and another used by UK social policymakers — and suggests one possible hierarchy for Australia. Naturally, such a hierarchy should not be the only tool used to assess research, and should be used in conjunction with other factors, such as the ranking of the journal in which a study is published. But used carefully, a hierarchy can help policymakers sort through a daunting body of research, and may also inform governments’ decisions on how to evaluate social policy interventions.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Treasury, Australian Government in its journal Economic Roundup.
Volume (Year): (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
policy-making; social welfare;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
- I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
- B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
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