Embedding Evidence and Evaluation in Economic Recovery Legislation

Authors: Jed Herrmann, Kate Tromble, Alexandra George, and Colleen Chien


The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on communities across the country. Tens of millions of people lost jobs and millions of school children have fallen behind. To help people recover from the effects of the pandemic, the next administration should invest in proven solutions by working with Congress to embed evaluation and evidence-building into economic stimulus legislation, strengthening the foundation for an equitable and efficient recovery.

The new administration and Congress should ensure that any forthcoming economic stimulus legislation include provisions requiring commitments to build new evidence and utilize existing evidence. Specifically, the administration should establish a task force coordinated by the National Economic Council to:

  1. Work with agencies and Congress to set aside a portion of recovery resources (up to 1%) for evaluation and evidence-building, based in part on agency learning agendas created in response to the Evidence Act.

  2. Create a National Economic Mobility Innovation Fund at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

  3. Empower the Office of Evaluation Services (OES) within the General Services Administration (GSA) to help agencies develop evaluation and evidence-building capacity.

  4. Create Excellence in What Works in Economic Mobility Awards.

These strategies, which we are collectively calling a “Stimulus Evaluation Act,” should be integrated into current and future economic recovery efforts.

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About the Authors

Jed Herrmann is Vice President for State and Federal Policy Implementation at Results for America, where he leads the organization’s work to help state governments and federal agencies get better results by improving their use of data and evidence. Jed can be contacted at jed@results4america.org. For more information, please visit RFA’s webpage.

Kate Tromble is the Vice-President for Federal Policy at Results for America and previously served as the pastoral associate for social justice at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Holy Trinity Staff, Kate served as Director of Legislative Affairs at the Education Trust, a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization that seeks to eliminate the academic achievement gaps that separate low-income students and students of color from their peers. Kate can be contacted at kate@results4america.org. For more information, please visit RFA’s webpage

Alexandra George is an undergraduate student double majoring in philosophy and political science at Santa Clara University. She is a member of the Data Acquisitions team for the Paper Prisons Initiative at Santa Clara Law School (paperprisons.org). After graduating in the spring of 2021, Alexandra’s goal is to attend law school.

Colleen Chien is a Fellow of the Day One Project and a curator of the Day One Innovation for All and Evidence-Based Policymaking verticals. She is a Professor of Law at Santa Clara Law School where she teaches, writes, and mentors students. From 2013-2015 she served as Obama White House Senior Advisor for Intellectual Property and Innovation. She lives in Oakland with her husband, two sons, and pet bunny.