Center for American Progress

Moving Government Decisionmaking Into the Information Age

Progressive Priorities Project
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As a new presidential term and a new Congress begin, the Center for American Progress has launched the Progressive Priorities Project to provide policymakers and the public with a positive vision for progressive policymaking supported by a series of new and bold policy ideas in priority areas identified by American Progress. Moving Government Decisionmaking Into the Information Age is the seventh of more than a dozen papers in the series that American Progress will issue over the course of the coming weeks. In addition to providing broad policy recommendations, each of the papers in the series proposes specific steps that policymakers can take to achieve the broader policy goals. All of the papers in the series will be compiled and published as a book early this year.

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."
—James Madison, 1822

Full Report in PDF

The United States faces a myriad of pressing health, safety, and environmental threats. To address these and other problems effectively, we need more and better information on which to base our decisions, as well as an engaged and informed public that can hold government and the private sector accountable. Unfortunately, government decisionmaking and public accountability suffer from persistent data gaps, poor information management, and the lack of systematic analysis.

In this chapter of the Progressive Priorities Series, the Center for American Progress recommends investing in and harnessing new technology to build an information infrastructure for stronger health, safety, and environmental protection. Specifically, we call for a coordinated effort to (1) modernize data collection to address critical gaps in our knowledge; (2) integrate data management and dissemination across federal agencies; and (3) analyze data to highlight good and bad performance and to drive decisionmaking. The benefits of this undertaking are wide-ranging: greater precision in identifying problem areas, more responsive and transparent government, more effective public safeguards, and an alert public, empowered to fight for a cleaner environment and safer, healthier communities.

Full Report in PDF

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