Roundtable: [DATA] The (Critical) Next Level of Evidence-Based Policymaking: Case Studies of Successful Policymaker-Researcher Collaboration at the State Level
(The Impacts of Politics on the Policy Process)

Thursday, November 6, 2014: 2:45 PM-4:15 PM
Sandia (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Jenni Owen, Duke University
Moderators:  John Hutchins, MDRC
Speakers:  Anita Larson, Minnesota Department of Education, Early Learning Services; Hamline University, Jenni Owen, Duke University, Charles Sallee, New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee and Gary VanLandingham, Pew Charitable Trusts

The evidence-based policy movement is alive and well. Led first by the federal government (particularly the Office of Management and Budget) and national philanthropic efforts, an increasing proportion of government entities at all levels are focusing on “what works” — and how we know whether it “works” — in developing policies and programs. But for these efforts to truly succeed, policymakers — particularly those at the state and local levels, where decisions are increasingly made — must develop practical and effective collaborations with researchers (or with those who can translate research) to give them evidence they can use to act. This APPAM roundtable, the sixth in an annual series on evidence-based policymaking, will focus on several examples of successful policymaker-researcher partnerships at the state and local level. Among the questions that the panel, made up of policymakers, researchers, and policy experts, will address: • What examples are there of successful policymaker-researcher collaborations at the state and local level? How have they been achieved? Who has made them happen? • What are the optimal ingredients for developing and sustaining policymaker-researcher partnerships? • Is the process for establishing successful researcher-public sector collaborations replicable? • Is there evidence that these collaborations produce better government, more effective programs, or new synergies between academic and public agency sectors that have broader benefits? • How is the philanthropic sector supporting progress in the evidence-based policy movement in states and localities? • Stemming from the Results First effort, is it advisable for federal agencies and states to apply aspects of the pay for results approach if they lack the capacity to apply the full approach? • Given that researchers often have minimal knowledge of the policymaking process, how can they maintain their focus on research (and their academic independence), while attending to policymaker conditions and needs? This proposal stems from roundtables that Jenni Owen and John Hutchins have organized at each APPAM conference since 2009 on the major growth in attention to and use of evidence in education and social policymaking. This year’s proposal seeks to take a much closer look at how successful policymaker-researcher collaborations work at the state and local level, offering a diversity of perspectives, roles, and expertise in promoting evidence-based policy partnerships: • Anita Larson will describe on a multi-year, federally-funded collaboration in Minnesota around child care assistance policy research analysis during the early 2000s where she participated as a county human services agency and later, researcher. • Jenni Owen will focus on strategies for developing and maintaining trusted relationships among researchers, practitioners and policymakers. • Charles Sallee will explain New Mexico’s collaboration with the Pew-MacArthur Results First initiative to help states implement an innovative cost-benefit analysis approach that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proven to work. • Gary VanLandingham will describe the collaborative relationships Results First has developed with states and localities, highlighting the partnership with New Mexico.