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The realities of scaling within evidence-based policy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2020

Child Trends, Bethesda, MD, USA
Child Trends, Bethesda, MD, USA
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The economic model for scaling described by Al-Ubaydli and colleagues offers recommendations to policymakers who make decisions about whether or not to implement evidence-based programs. The core economic model does not currently acknowledge the broader context of policy decision-making and therefore may fail to achieve its objectives. The model focuses primarily on the generation and use of available research in the decision on whether to scale a program. Research studying the use of evidence in policymaking points to a complex set of factors beyond just the strength of the evidence such as leadership, relationships, timing and financial resources that contribute to decisions to scale a program. Second, there is already a robust evidence-based policy movement at the federal, state and local levels. The economic model should leverage this movement rather than providing recommendations that might stall or redirect the movement. The economic model can push the field to strengthen the available evidence while providing recommendations on selecting models to scale within the currently available evidence. This commentary finishes with suggestions for moving forward.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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