Public Value Evidence for Public Value Outcomes
Integrating Public Values into Federal Policymaking
The federal government––through efforts like the White House Year of Evidence for Action––has made a laudable push to ensure that policy decisions are grounded in empirical evidence. While these efforts acknowledge the importance of social, cultural and Indigenous knowledges, they do not draw adequate attention to the challenges of generating, operationalizing, and integrating such evidence in routine policy and decision making. In particular, these endeavors are generally poor at incorporating the living and lived experiences, knowledge, and values of the public. This evidence—which we call evidence about public values—provides important insights for decision making and contributes to better policy or program designs and outcomes.
The federal government should broaden institutional capacity to collect and integrate evidence on public values into policy and decision making. Specifically, we propose that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP):
- Provide a directive on the importance of public value evidence.
- Develop an implementation roadmap for integrating public value evidence into federal operations (e.g., describe best practices for integrating it into federal decision making, developing skill-building opportunities for federal employees).