Mathematica: Highlights from APPAM's 2013 Fall Research Conference
"Effective policymaking and public management should be driven largely by evidence—the kind based on rigorous assessment of quantitative and qualitative data." —Paul Decker, chief executive officer of Mathematica Policy Research and outgoing president of APPAM
In his presidential address before the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) fall research conference earlier this month, Mathematica CEO Paul Decker explored the nexus between policymaking, public management, and evidence-based research. His speech, "False Choices, Policy Framing, and the Promise of 'Big Data'" challenged the notion that program evaluation is simply a tool to justify continued or discontinued funding for a program. Instead, he suggested that evaluations are critical to informed decision making and improving program outcomes. He also contended that researchers need to do their part by helping policymakers "connect the dots" between evidence and sound public policy. Embracing what he called a "data revolution," Decker highlighted the overlap between big data and analytics trends in public management, the mission of APPAM, and the skills of its members.
Mathematica staff were on hand at the conference capturing experts on video. We have put together some interview highlights framed by clips from Paul Decker's presidential address. Watch the video to find out what APPAM president-elect Angela Evans, JPAM editor Maureen Pirog, Doug Besharov, Judy Feder, Sandra Archibald and other APPAM conference participants have to say about how research affects public policy.
Decker was joined at APPAM by many of his Mathematica colleagues, who presented findings on topics such as housing options for youth aging out of foster care; transfer incentives for high-performing teachers to relocate to struggling schools; ways to address the human services needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) population; access to energy-efficient technologies in developing countries; a gold-standard evaluation of the Workforce Investment Act, high quality early childhood programs; employment outcomes for people with disabilities; and the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on participants' food security.
View the complete list of Mathematica 2013 APPAM presentations.