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Sticking to the Concept of Being Professional, Scientific and Open and Making the Policy Evaluation Objective, Just and Accurate


By Li Wei, the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC)

Since the 1990s, some developed countries and international organizations, with the phasing in of the importance of public policy assessment, have conducted wide-ranging evaluation on public policies. The reasons are as follows: 1.The impact of public policy is becoming larger in scale and wider in areas, and there's a rising demand for an evaluation on public policy; 2. A more sophisticated labor division and social formation have made policy making become more difficult and that requires public policy to be more scientific and effective through evaluation; 3. The effective implementation of public policy needs policy evaluation; 4.The enhancement of national governance capability is inseparable from public policy evaluation. Among all the entities relating to public policy evaluation, government think tanks, as special institutions, enjoy unique advantages. Firstly, as institutions familiar with government decision-making and independent from other government departments, the evaluation made by government think tanks is both informative and objective. Secondly, trusted by the central government and supported by public finance, the evaluation made by government think tanks bears strong characters in terms of social responsibility and equity. Thirdly, government think tanks have advantages in both the communication channels and information sources. While making evaluation, government think tanks should stick to the concept of being professional, scientific and try to make the evaluation to be objective, just and accurate. To achieve this target, efforts have to be made in the following aspects: firstly, the evaluation made should be based on the stand of the general public; secondly, efforts should be made towards expert reserve and personnel training; thirdly, policy evaluation should be combined with policy research; fourthly, new study methods and evaluation tools should be adopted; fifthly, the evaluation should take an open position and strengthen exchanges and cooperation with relevant institutions. Finally, in making evaluations, think tanks should be on alert for various kinds of negative trends.