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The Brookings Cafeteria

Dec 5, 2014

“One thing most people don't know is that our [social] programs don't work,” says Senior Fellow Ron Haskins in this podcast about how the Obama administration is starting to create a “culture of evidence” for the design and evaluation of government programs, with the ultimate aim to increase equality of opportunity in America and spend less money doing it.

Haskins, the Cabot Family Chair and co-director of both the Center on Children and Families and the Budgeting for National Priorities project, is the co-author, with Greg Margolis, of Show Me the Evidence: Obama's Fight for Rigor and Results in Social Policy (Brookings, 2014). The book, Haskins says, tells the story of “how the Obama administration has been the most important administration ever for using the results of social science research and especially scientific program evaluation to improve federal programs.” Listen as Haskins describes the origin of the research, the “sausage making” of the policy process, and the move to instill a commitment to evidence-based policymaking across the political spectrum. “There is a growing commitment to evidence and a growing accepting by both parties of the logic of evidence that we need to figure out if these programs work,” Haskins says.  

In the segments, first hear from Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy Director David Wessel discuss the problem of uncertain forecasts about the federal budget, and tee up an upcoming event, The Long Run Outlook for the Federal Budget: Do We Know Enough to Worry? on December 15.

Second, after the interview, Wells Bennett, fellow in National Security Law, explains a recent paper series about the future of civilian robotics, which explores various questions about the integration of robots and robotics into civilian life.

Show Notes:

• Show Me the Evidence: Obama's Fight for Rigor and Results in Social Policy 
• Social Programs that Work 
• The Obama Administration’s Evidence-Based Social Policy Initiatives: An Overview 
• Social Science Rising: A Tale of Evidence Shaping Policy 
• Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society 
• Murray and Ryan Team Up to Propose Commission On Evidence-Based Policymaking


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