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Congressionally mandated commission on evidence-based policy making issues report

Faculty Associate Katharine Abraham, Chair, asserts privacy and data can both be improved

Writing in the September 8 issue of Science magazine, Jeffrey Mervis points out that "The U.S. government spends more than $5 trillion a year on programs aimed at improving the lives of Americans - and a minuscule amount evaluating how well they work." He adds that those who wish to use data to improve measurement of outcomes got a boost from a report issued by the Congressionally mandated Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, chaired by MPRC Faculty Associate and Professor of Economics, Katharine Abraham.

Among other suggestions, the commission recommends the establishment of a portal called the National Secure Data Service that "would help develop and implement new safeguards to keep information confidential," Mervis writes. He quotes Dr. Abraham, "There's a perception that if you increase data access, you will necessarily reduce privacy. We are saying that we think we can do better on both.”

Mervis adds, "The commission offers 22 recommendations, each crafted to help legislators walk [a] political tightrope. They include requiring states to make available the data they collect on federally funded programs; creating a public, searchable inventory of approved data projects; and encouraging federal agencies to carry out more evidence-building activities."

Dr. Abraham was asked to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the commission report on September 12. She and commission co-chair Ron Haskins are scheduled to meet with numerous interested groups to talk about the commission's findings and recommendations.

See the complete article in Science

See the report, "The Promise of Evidence-Based Policymaking"