ANZSOG/ANU Public Lecture Series 2009, Canberra, 4 February. Early versions of this paper were presented to an Australian Public Service Commission ‘Leader-to-Leader’ seminar in October 2008, and as a keynote address to the Annual Conference of the Economics Society in
What exactly does evidence-based policy-making entail? How can it contribute to achieving better policy outcomes? What is needed to put it into wider practice?
The concept of 'evidence-based policy-making', while not new, has recently become elevated in public discussion. Like motherhood, it has universal appeal, at least in principle. The need for it is manifest in the complexity of the policy challenges confronting Australia, both in the short term (the 'meltdown') and the long term (greenhouse, population ageing). But what exactly does evidence-based policy-making entail? How can it contribute to achieving better policy outcomes? What is needed to put it into wider practice?
In a speech for the Australia New Zealand School of Government, Gary Banks, Chariman of the Productivity Commission, addresses each of these questions, drawing some insights and lessons from the experience of the Productivity Commission and its predecessors over the years.