Evidence-based policy as a political ideal

Authors: Jesper Ahlin Marceta

This post was originally published by Transforming Society on 11 May 2020, and then it was reproduced in the Evidence & Policy blog.

We have re-issued the article that has already been published by the Evidence & Policy blog. We would like to express gratitude to the kind offer of the editorial board of the Evidence & Policy blog.

You can read the original research in Evidence & Policy [Open Access]: Ahlin Marceta, J. (2020) The evidence-based policy movement and political idealism, Evidence & Policy, DOI: 10.1332/174426420X15825349438945.

Image credit: GoodIdeas on Shutterstock

(Image credit: GoodIdeas on Shutterstock)

This post was originally published by Transforming Society on 11 May 2020, and then it was reproduced in the Evidence & Policy blog.

We have re-issued the article that has already been published by the Evidence & Policy blog. We would like to express gratitude to the kind offer of the editorial board of the Evidence & Policy blog.

If the people decide where to go, should experts decide how to get there? In the so-called evidence-based policy (EBP) movement, the general answer is yes. EBP proponents want to strengthen the ties between science and politics.

Suppose, for instance, that the voters in a country have decided that carbon emissions from industries should never exceed a certain threshold. Which policy is best if this goal is to be attained; higher taxes on pollution, or a trade market on carbon allowances?

EBP proponents would argue that scientific knowledge and methods should be consulted in the policy decision. If there is no clear evidence in favor of one policy over the other, some EBP proponents would even suggest that evidence should be created through social experiments; raise the taxes on pollution in one place and set up a trade market on carbon allowances in another, then evaluate which policy performs best.