More on Government Economic and Evaluation Service
This post was written by Colm Harmon
The announcement of an economic and evaluation capacity for the public sector has the potential to be a transformative venture and should be welcomed in my opinion.
I think this is far more than just filling the public sector with economists as a matter of optics - at least I hope so. It is worth noting that this is just one initiative pointing in the right direction - for example, the D-PER recently convened a working group that brings expertise (academic, commercial etc) into the room to review major policy domains including nitty gritty things like how major capital projects are valued (Disclosure - I was asked to participate in this and was glad to).
Some things I hope will happen:
- I hope the service evolves as an identifiable entity within the public service and not just buried in one Department - from what we can tell so far spreading the economists to wherever demand and skills are matched is the plan.
- I hope to see a ‘Chief Economist’ role evolve - a visible, public facing role who is an advocate for what the service produces and is strong on communication. Someone needs to be seen in public!!
- It is very important to see ‘evaluation’ flagged explicitly and this is again a positive move - it suggests microeconomic policy will evolve as a domain and rightly so.
- We don’t need to reinvent the wheel in a costly fashion with respect to training and ongoing development of the recruited economists - I hope to see routine movement between academic institutions and the service, and between the services and major policy research groups like the ESRI.