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Open Policy Analysis

In the last two decades, governments and researchers have placed a growing emphasis on the value of evidence-based policy. However, while the evidence generated through research to inform policy has become more rigorous and transparent, policy analysis — the process of contextualizing evidence to inform specific policy decisions (depicted in Figure 1) — remains opaque. We recognize that there is significant room for improvement in terms of how evidence is used in policy reports, as well as potential efficiency gains from increasing reproducibility and automation.

Through the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), CEGA supports Open Policy Analysis (OPA), an approach to policy analysis wherein data, code, materials, and clear accounts of methodological decisions are made freely available to facilitate collaboration, discussion, and reuse. OPA adapts and applies cutting-edge tools, methods, and practices commonly used for transparency and reproducibility in scientific research.

OPA is based on the following principles:

  1. Open output: The analysis should clearly pre-specify the output that will inform policy makers, and identify the preferred set of estimates. Additionally, this principle entails properly communicating the underlying uncertainty and how the results vary with the underlying assumptions.
  2. Open analysis: All elements of the analysis should be easily accessible and readable for critical appraisal and improvement. This includes disclosing all methodological procedures and underlying assumptions behind the report.
  3. Open materials: All materials (raw data, code, and supporting documents) should be made publicly available to allow a policy report to be reproduced in its entirety with minimal effort.

CEGA develops and tests tools, practices, and community standards for OPA, and supports policy analysis organizations in operationalizing OPA. To see what OPA looks like in practice, have a look at our projects below.



Progressive Wealth Tax proposal

We collaborated with UC Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman to produce a fully reproducible version of their policy analysis for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s progressive wealth tax plan, part of her 2020 Presidential campaign. Learn more here.

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Progressive Wealth Tax

Reports & Policy Briefs

Why We Need Open Policy Analysis

Research Publications

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