How to Tackle Challenges When Government is Polarized

November 11, 2012

In the U.S., as in many countries, leaders are grappling with fundamental questions about the size and role of government, the best way to stimulate economic growth, and the nature and form of regulations and entitlements. While these challenges would be difficult under any circumstance, the increasingly polarized environment has meant solutions and progress have become elusive.

But polarization need not result in paralysis. We have the opportunity both to strengthen the evidence and reasoning that underpin the existing policy debate, and to start a new conversation about how to make government more efficient and effective, no matter what policies the public chooses.

That is the lesson from our recent work on what other countries have discovered in similar moments. By identifying the solvable management problems, using robust data to develop and deliver the right solutions, and abandoning the approaches that fail to yield results, it is possible to make huge strides in addressing critical challenges even without resolving the ideological and policy dilemmas

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