Panel Paper: Why We Need Open Policy Analysis

Friday, November 9, 2018
Marriott Balcony A - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Sean Grant1, Fernando Hoces de la Guardia2 and Edward Miguel2, (1)RAND Corporation, (2)University of California, Berkeley

The evidence-based policy movement promotes the use of empirical evidence to inform

policy decision-making. While this movement has gained traction over the last two decades,

several concerns about the credibility of empirical research have been identified in scientific

disciplines that use research methods and practices that are commonplace in policy analysis. As a

solution, we argue that policy analysis should adopt the transparent, open, and reproducible

research practices espoused in related disciplines. We first discuss the importance of evidencebased

policy in an era of increasing disagreement about facts, analysis, and expertise. We then

review recent credibility crises of empirical research (difficulties reproducing results), their

causes (questionable research practices such as publication biases and p-hacking), and their

relevance to the credibility of evidence-based policy (trust in policy analysis). The remainder of

the paper makes the case for “open” policy analysis and how to achieve it. We include examples

of recent policy analyses that have incorporated open research practices such as transparent

reporting, open data, and code sharing. We conclude with recommendations on how key

stakeholders in evidence-based policy can make open policy analysis the norm and thus

safeguard trust in using empirical evidence to inform important policy decisions.

Full Paper: