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2015 Bronfenbrenner Lecture: Ron Haskins, Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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The Obama Evidence-Based Revolution: Will It Last?
Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
G10 Biotech Building

This talk is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required, but please let us know about groups of 10 or more by emailing

This talk will be live streamed here (link not live until talk date).

Scholars, advocates, and others have long fought to expand the role of social science evidence in the formulation of social policy. Significant strides toward this goal have been achieved in recent years. The most important expansion of evidence-based policy has been the creation of six social policy initiatives by the Obama administration. The Obama programs were designed to establish two central features of evidence-based grant making by the federal government. First, most of the grant money is spent on model social programs that have strong evidence of impacts, often from randomized controlled trials, on the problem they were designed to address. Second, program operators who receive the funds are required to evaluate their programs to determine whether they are achieving their intended results. If not, they are expected to make changes in the program and continue evaluating outcomes. There are now more than 1,440 projects operating model programs based on these two principles of evidence-based policy. The programs address a range of social issues including preschool and K-12 education, teen pregnancy prevention, employment and training, and others. After reviewing the Obama evidence-based initiatives, Haskins will examine both additional initiatives by prominent organizations that are contributing to the rising influence of evidence-based policy as well as threats to the growth of the evidence movement.

Ron Haskins holds the Cabot Family Chair in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he co-directs both the Center on Children and Families and the Budgeting for National Priorities Project. He is also a senior consultant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. He is the author of Show Me the Evidence: Obama’s Fight for Rigor and Evidence in Social Policy (Brookings, 2014), Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law (2006), co-author of Creating an Opportunity Society (2009), and a senior editor of The Future of Children. In 2002 he was the senior advisor to the President for Welfare Policy at the White House. Prior to joining Brookings and Casey he spent 14 years on the staff of the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee, serving as the subcommittee’s staff director between 1995 and 2000. In 1997, Haskins was selected by the National Journal as one of the 100 most influential people in the federal government. He holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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