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Fact-based policy: How do state and local governments accomplish it?

The Problem

Fact-based policy is essential to making government more effective and more efficient, and many states could benefit from more extensive use of data and evidence when making policy. Private companies have taken advantage of declining computing costs and vast data resources to solve problems in a fact-based way, but state and local governments have not made as much progress.

The Proposal

Drawing on her experience in Rhode Island, Hastings proposes that states build secure, comprehensive, integrated databases, and that they transform those databases into data lakes that are optimized for developing insights. Policymakers can then use the insights from this work to sharpen policy goals, create policy solutions, and measure progress against those goals. Policymakers, computer scientists, engineers, and economists will work together to build the data lake and analyze the data to generate policy insights.

Author

Justine Hastings

Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs - Brown University

Founding Director - Research Improving People’s Lives

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