“In Depth” Radio Interview with Steve Kelman
In an interview on In Depth with Francis Rose, on Federal News Radio, Steve Kelman, Professor of Public Management at Harvard Kennedy School of Government discusses how the Federal government can use Moneyball tactics, and why it hasn’t gained more traction, despite it being a bipartisan ideology.
A few highlights from the interview:
“[Moneyball] is not sexy, it’s not very partisan in fact I found out that this section about evidence-based government in President Obama’s budget. I found out about it when my good Republican friend Robert Shea who had a headed a performance measurement under previous President Bush wrote about this. He is a Republican in a very positive way on his Facebook page where he said something like this is what Moneyball would look like in government. He was very positive about it. So you’ve got this thing, this atmosphere in Washington where the idea that if it’s over party lines this is boring.”
“ROSE: So what do we do to convert more people to the bipartisan friends coalition?
“KELMAN: Two things. One is, that as somebody pointed out in a comment to my blog, actually it’s slightly different than what you said in your lead in. If you look at the President’s budget, the section on evidence-based government, all the examples are looking for things that work and should be funded more. There’s nothing in it about we found these things that didn’t work and they should be funded less. There was something of a tendency too at the time that when Republicans were in and they talked about evidence to come up with here are things that don’t work cut it. So I think one thing substantively that both sides need to do is to take the spirit of evidence-based government, which is some version of let the chips fall where they may, and be willing to use it both if we find evidence of success to increase our commitment and that evidence of failure that leads to cutbacks or limits. So that’s one thing. Second, I think you know, nobody is saying that a bunch of research studies by professors should control what’s going on in the government. But at the same time, I think that there is a very widespread view, and again I saw some of the comments to the blog that came in from people. I think many are not normally blog readers …. I don’t know they just saw it on the internet somewhere just… folks let’s say. I think a lot of people out there in our country are upset about this, everything is looked at through partisan lenses, everything is a to have a fight and so forth. And one of the things that made the idea of evidence-based government more appealing, I think the maybe the advocate of evidence-based government should be emphasizing more of who we are, is this is a little bit of a way to de-ideologize and de-demonize politics.”