Is the evidence-based policymaking movement at the federal level of government on the cusp of an important change? It’s too soon to say for sure, but hopefully so.
The change would expand the questions that currently drive the evidence movement, such as Does this program work? and Which version of this program works best? to include questions like What does this program cost? Is this program cost-effective? and Which version of this program is most cost-effective?
That may seem like a subtle change, but providing decision makers with information on costs and cost-effectiveness, not just on how well they produce desired outcomes, would give them valuable new information to identify the programs and policies with the highest return on investment. In practical terms, that would allow them to spend scarce government resources more wisely and better achieve the goals of public programs.