Measuring References to Statistics in National Policy Documents

The paper “Measuring References to Statistics in National Policy Documents” develops and reports on a methodology that measures the references to and critical engagement with statistical concepts, in national policy documents and poverty reduction strategies. By analysing over 200 policy documents for quality, the indicator constructed by this methodology showed both robustness and interpretability.

The use of evidence is relevant for public policy decisions, ranging from executive orders to regional and national development plans and, more broadly, for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For this, governments are being called to analyse empirical evidence with the purpose of identifying issues that require action. Subsequently, they must design and monitor potential interventions, monitor the implementation of policies, and evaluate their impact.

Addressing these needs, the paper proposes an improved indicator for measuring the use of statistical evidence in national policy documents. It then provides a methodology for constructing the index and compares the relationship between the index and other development outcomes. Finally, it concludes with some reflections on the best strategies to improve the use of data in policy documents.

Author 11.05.2021