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Evidence, Values and Public Policy

17 April 2012




Public policy is largely about deciding who gets what and who pays, given relative resource scarcity. How, then, ought the state to calculate ‘trade offs‘ between conflicting demands and priorities? This paper argues that policy making needs to go beyond ‘evidence-based policy’ – at least the kind of policy making where officials provide ostensibly ‘values-free’ empirical analysis of the evidence and ‘what works, while politicians concern themselves with desired outcomes and priorities between these. Rather, elected and appointed officials alike need to engage in co-decision and co-design with citizens; this process should factor into policy-making explicit critical reflection and public deliberation on purpose, values and emotions.

These Occasional Papers are jointly published by ANZSOG and the New Zealand State Services Commission.

Suggested citation

Bromell, D. (2010). Evidence, Values and Public Policy. SSC/ANZSOG Occasional Paper. Melbourne: ANZSOG.


Authors: David Bromell
Published Date: 17 April 2012

Case study

Download the case study: bromell_2012-ssc-occ-paper (PDF 183 KB)