RIETI Report March 29, 2024

Overseas EBPM Situation: Focusing on United States and United Kingdom

Dear Readers,
Welcome to RIETI Report.
This bi-weekly newsletter will keep you updated with the recent columns, event information and research results by RIETI fellows and other leading economists in Japan and around the world.

In this edition, we are featuring topics related to tension between evidence-based policymaking and democracy. RIETI Faculty Fellow Yu Uchiyama takes stock of recent developments in this field in the United Sates and the United Kingdom. It is certainly good news for economists that more economists are being hired now in the EBPM-related offices in governments.

We hope you will enjoy it. If you have any feedback, we would love to hear from you (news-info@rieti.go.jp).
Editors of RIETI Report (Facebook: @en.RIETI / X: @RIETIenglish / URL: https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/)

This month's featured article

Overseas EBPM Situation: Focusing on United States and United Kingdom

UCHIYAMA YuFaculty Fellow, RIETI

How is evidence-based policymaking (EBPM) progressing in the United States and the United Kingdom, which are known for their advanced EBPM? In fact, the two countries in recent years have experienced a political headwind for EBPM. In this column, I would like to explain the recent situation regarding EBPM in the two countries, while taking note of the relationship between democracy and EBPM.

United States

In the United States, the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2016 was enacted in March 2016. The act was co-sponsored by then Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democrat Senator Patty Murray. Under the act, the 15-member bipartisan Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking was established to consider ways to improve the use of government-held data for evidence-building purposes, while preserving privacy and confidentiality of information.

Under the Trump administration launched in January 2017, however, EBPM plunged into jeopardy. In December 2017, President Donald Trump banned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from using terms such as "evidence-based" and "science-based," as well as "diversity" and "transgender."

However, the political system in the United States is characterized by a strict separation of powers. It is not easy for the president to stop a congress-led policy. Despite the president's intention as described above, therefore, the EBPM Commission proceeded with its deliberations. Its final report was issued in September 2017, paving the way for the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 to be enacted in January 2019. The act requires each government agency to name a Chief Data Officer, an Evaluation Officer, and a Statistical Official to develop a learning agenda (evidence-building plan), and to submit annual evaluation plans.

Specifically, the Evaluation Officer is responsible for educating agency leaders and staff on evaluation, advising agency leaders on evaluation policy and practice, and coordinating with other stakeholders, the Chief Data Officer, and the Statistical Official. As a cross-agency forum, the Evaluation Officer Council has been established, comprised of Evaluation Officers at agencies. The council serves as a forum to exchange information, advise the Office of Management and Budget on evaluation capacity building and other issues, and coordinate and collaborate on areas of common interest.

Soon after taking office in January 2021, Democratic President Joe Biden issued the "Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking" to government agencies. “It is the policy of my Administration to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data,” the memorandum stated at the outset, including a number of instructions to emphasize evidence and science in policymaking. Demonstrating the Biden administration's firm will to restore trust in science and evidence that was damaged by his predecessor, President Trump, the memorandum is expected to provide a strong tailwind for U.S. EBPM.

To read the full text:

Related articles

“Justice and transparency are prerequisites for rational decision-making in governance, but these prerequisites are fading and must be restored”
YAMAGUCHI Kazuo (Visiting Fellow, RIETI)

“EBPM and Government Statistics: Measuring the Effects of Investment in People”
MORIKAWA Masayuki (Chief Research Officer, RIETI)

“Resolving Misunderstandings Concerning the Setting of KPIs as Key to Promoting EBPM”
KOBAYASHI Yohei (Consulting Fellow, RIETI) / IKEDA Takaaki (Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd.)

Our latest discussion papers

“Approximating Choice Data by Discrete Choice Models”
Haoge CHANG (Microsoft Research) / NARITA Yusuke (Visiting Fellow, RIETI) / SAITO Kota (California Institute of Technology)

“The Welfare Effects of Government Intervention into the Licensing of Standard-essential Patents: An analysis of the Chinese smartphone and SoC markets”
WATANABE Mariko (Gakushuin University) / KUBO Kensuke (Keio University)

“Impact of Technological Decoupling between the United States and China on Trade and Welfare”
JINJI Naoto (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / OZAWA Shunya (Kyoto University)

“Technology Transfer, Emissions Trading, and International Trade”
ISHIKAWA Jota (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / KIYONO Kazuharu (Waseda University) / YOMOGIDA Morihiro (Sophia University)

“Effects of Welfare Receipt on Well-being: Evidence from older people in Japan”
MATSUMOTO Kodai (Fellow (Policy Economist), RIETI)

“Propagation of Export Shocks: The Great Recession in Japan”
MUKOYAMA Toshihiko (Georgetown University) / NAKAKUNI Kanato (University of Tokyo) / NIREI Makoto (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)

“People Management Skills, Senior Leadership Skills and the Peter Principle”
ASUYAMA Yoko (IDE-JETRO) / OWAN Hideo (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)

“Are Firms Able to Take Advantage of Academic Advances?”
OROKU Masahiro (Recruit Co., Ltd.)

“How Much of Merit is Due to Luck? Evidence on the Butterfly Effect of luck”
KOIZUMI Hideto (Fellow (Policy Economist), RIETI)

“Unraveling the Determinants of Overemployment and Underemployment among Older Workers in Japan: A machine learning approach”
ZHANG Meilian (Chinese University of Hong Kong) / YIN Ting (Fellow (Specially Appointed), RIETI) / USUI Emiko (Hitotsubashi University) / OSHIO Takashi (Hitotsubashi University) / ZHANG Yi (Central University of Finance and Economics)

[List of discussion papers]
[List of upcoming and past symposiums]
[List of upcoming and past BBL seminars]

* To subscribe, please go to SHANON's website.
SubscribeOpen a new window

Event Information

For a complete list of past and upcoming event information.



BBL Seminars

Fellow titles and links in the text are as of the date of publication.

For questions or comments regarding RIETI Report, please contact the editor.

*If the "Send by mailer" button does not work, please copy the address into your email "send to" field and connect the prefix and the suffix of the address with an "@", sending it normally.

RIETI Report is published bi-weekly.