Evidence-Based Policy and Systemic Change: Conflicting Trends?

2013 . Springfield Working Paper Series # 1 ,  Dr. Ben Taylor btaylor@springfieldcentre.com Available as pdf

Abstract: “Two concurrent but incompatible trends have emerged in development in recent years. Firstly, evidence-based policy and the results agenda have come become ubiquitous amongst government policymakers in recent years including in development. Secondly, there has been a realisation of the utility of systemic approaches to development policy and programming in order to bring about sustainable change for larger numbers of people. This paper highlights the negative impacts of this former trend on development and, more acutely, its incompatibility with the latter trend. The paper then highlights positive signs of a change in thinking in development that have begun to emerge to lead to a more pragmatic and contextually nuanced approach to measuring progress and identifies the need for further research in this area, calling for evaluation of approaches rather than searching for a silver bullet. The paper draws on a review of the evidence together with a number of key informant interviews with practitioners from the field.”


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