It’s Time to Play Moneyball for Government

By John Kamensky

March 7, 2014

President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal would invest in programs that demonstrate effectiveness and in generating new knowledge about what works through more evidence and evaluation.

While the headlines about the president’s new budget focus on the big numbers, there is a significant back story about the expanded use of “evidence and rigorous evaluation to improve policy outcomes.”

The president’s proposal includes billions of dollars for pilot and demonstration programs, outcome-focused grant reforms and creating new strategies that pay only for approaches that work. A range of existing programs are receiving increased funding on the basis of strong evidence, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Building Evidence About What Works

The fiscal 2015 budget recommends a number of investments in testing new approaches to identify the “most promising strategies that warrant expansion” if they can show they are effective. These include:

Using Evidence to Get Better Results

OMB identifies examples of where “the budget proposes to invest in, scale up or change on the basis of strong evidence.” Examples include initiatives to:

These efforts build on initiatives that have evolved in a bipartisan fashion during the past five to seven years at the federal level, and that are being developed at the state and local levels. They receive support from foundations, and the nonprofit and academic sectors. So while there are headlines about clashes over top-line spending priorities, there seems to be a quiet consensus about doing what works. Many are joining the movement at Moneyball for Government.

(Image via anaken2012/

By John Kamensky

March 7, 2014