The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative: Targeting Investments at Programs that Work

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Speaker: Gary Vanlandingham

Date/Time: April 24, 10 AM – 12 PM

Link to Presentation Slides: Bridging the Gap Between Evidence and Policy – The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative


There is growing interest among policymakers in using rigorous evidence to target taxpayer dollars to those programs that will most effectively to achieve desired goals, such as keeping the public safe from crime, protecting children from abuse, and improving educational achievement. The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative (Results First) is working with 17 U.S. states and four California counties to implement an innovative policy analysis approach that helps governments identify their currently funded programs, assess the available evidence on whether these programs are effective, and comparing the return on investment that alternative programs could generate by using an econometric model that estimates the long-term costs and benefits of public programs. This session will provide a brief summary of how Results First works with governments and highlights the innovative ways that these governments are using the approach to eliminate ineffective programs and shift funding to alternatives that can deliver a higher return on investment for their citizens.


Gary VanLandingham directs the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, which is working to help state and local governments transform their budget process through a cutting edge approach that enables policymakers to identify and compare the long-term return on investment they would achieve through alternative policy choices. Participating governments have used Results First to eliminate ineffective programs and target funds to evidence-based interventions that have a proven track record of achieving strong outcomes for citizens.

Prior to joining Pew, Gary led the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability policy, its research and oversight arm. He has over 30 years of experience in policy analysis and program evaluation at the state and local government levels.

Gary has served as leadership positions with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society, the Southeast Evaluation Association, the North Florida Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration, and the Government Accounting Standards Advisory Council. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy, has taught graduate and undergraduate seminars in policy analysis and public management, serves on the editorial board of two public administration journals, and has authored publications on public management, performance budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, and policy research utilization.