The heterogeneity of evidence-based policy-making

Forthcoming paper by Stauffer and Lee (2019)

Evidence-based policy-making (EBPM) is an ideal difficult to achieve. Widely cited barriers are many. They include actors' cognitive limitations, lack of time, different definitions of evidence and limited attention spans; the role of framing strategies, focusing events, and policy networks; as well as incompatibility between the supply of and demand for evidence. Most of them directly boil down to political behavior of different types of actors - not solely policymakers. We disassemble EBPM down to the actor level and explore the heterogeneity of the use and misuse of evidence. Through this literature review, we found that actors' types, and other characteristics such as their goals, play an important role. We recommend the proponents of evidence-based policy-making to adopt a pragmatic approach, rely on immersed training strategies, revise their assumption that researchers must also be knowledge brokers, and foster the inclusion of epistemic communities in policy-making.