Variations on the theme of evidence-based policy and politics

Posted on January 20, 2017  /  0 Comments

Few days back, I was on a panel discussing the past two years record of the government and what we’d like to see in the coming three years. I talked about the President’s interest in focusing everyone’s attention on the Sustainable Development Goals and the expert committee that has been appointed to advise the government on SDGs. This is a topic connected to what we’re doing at LIRNEasia.

A non-evidence based statement from the floor caused me to write a column, published today in both Sinhala and English.

Why would such egregious errors be made? Was it because the main point the Professor was making about the need for promotion of domestic manufacturing overrode the need to support it with actual facts? That ideology trumped truth? Or was it that the Professor had not bothered to refresh his knowledge from what he heard while still in school in the 1970s?

When persons in authority in our official knowledge-production system pay scant regard to facts, what hope do we have in shifting public discourse to a truth-based plane? Has it become necessary to hire fact checkers for university professors too? Or is it time to rethink the credibility of our universities as well as of the people our universities appoint to professorships?

– See more at:

The column draws on data from the work we did on value chains a few years back.

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