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On May 26th, 2015, Ms. Deanna Ford and Dr. Tran Ngoc Anh from Harvard University’s Center for International Development presented a workshop on “Data and Evidence for Improved Policy Design” at Mekong Development Research Institute.

The Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) program introduced the Smart Policy Design framework to help Vietnamese government agencies create a strategic method that would tackle policy challenges in Vietnam. Using India’s increasing road traffic accident rate as an example, the study implemented the design cycle methodology with an “Identify – Diagnose – Design – Implement & Test – Refine” structure to deeply understand the underlying causes behind the initial problem, to enable testing of the possible policy solutions, and to measure their impact. In order to ensure effective delivery of the policy, Smart Policy Design also identifies actors involved in the process of diagnosis and finds incentives to trigger changes in their behaviors according to the policy. In addition, such a structured approach is always grounded by context, economic theory, empirical evidence, consistent feedback loops, and monitoring.

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Evidence for Policy Design was developed as a network of faculty, staff, and researchers who apply economic theory and empirical evidence to design reforms, test policy solutions, and thus create effective systems in government policies and programs. The newly launched program plans to test this design framework by offering policy-makers training opportunities with EPoD to learn how to optimize data and evidence in policy decision-making process.

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