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The Urban Institute projects a record drop in poverty levels by the end of this calendar year. Modernizing how the government manages and uses data can inform better policy making and improve the lives of Americans. Paul Ryan, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (Evidence Act) in 2018 and started the American Idea Foundation, a nonprofit for fighting poverty.

  • Ryan said he learned through his time in Congress that the government was not moving the needle much on poverty because it should have been measuring success based on outcomes, not inputs. He said the Evidence Act establishes a process for this so policymakers can tie evidence to funding.
  • Ryan said everything government does should be measured through results and that data can make a huge difference in informing people about what works.
  • The American Idea Foundation works with other organizations to measure, replicate and scale successful poverty fighting initiatives, said Ryan.
  • Ryan also recommended using randomized controlled trials and removing silos to more effectively use data.

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