Articles The Economist Group and The Pew Charitable Trusts launch the Evidence Initiative

The Economist Group and The Pew Charitable Trusts launch the Evidence Initiative

A growing wariness between what is fact and what is fiction in recent years has been highlighted by increased political polarisation, a fractured media and the accelerated pace of technological change.

The Evidence Initiative, the recently launched project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Economist Group, which I serve as an adviser, seeks to help the public and policymakers overcome this wariness and call for more evidence in the information that floods our everyday life. Others involved as advisers come from academia in the UK and US, business, foundations and evidence bodies like Full Fact, What Works Centres, Sense about Science, and Wikipedia.

The initiative looks to tackle the trust (or distrust) in the political decision-making process, asking how leaders can adopt and defend an evidence-informed approach to policymaking in a world where emotional appeals to voters so often pay off at the ballot.

Through a series of events, multimedia materials and articles the initiative will highlight the use of sound data by decision-makers and encourage individuals to engage with the facts that inform policy, business and social decision-making.

In parallel, in Spring 2019, The Economist Intelligence Unit will produce the Evidence Index, a public benchmarking model, interactive tool and report that will provide insight into the quality of evidence and its availability to decision-makers in the G20 economies. The index will focus initially on evidence used in creating policies for digital inclusion, ageing and retirement, youth employment, financial inclusion and disaster risk. This could be a valuable tool in comparing the varying quality of evidence across countries.

More benchmarking of evidence could build on the work within countries, such as the US Federal Invest in What Works Index run by Results for America, or the UK evidence transparency framework led by Sense about Science and the Institute for Government. The global clout and reputations of the likes of The Economist Group and The Pew Charitable Trusts will help scale and grow the fight-back for evidence.

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