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Evidence-based policymaking and the wicked problem of SDG 5 Gender Equality

Lorraine Eden and M. Fernanda Wagstaff ()
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M. Fernanda Wagstaff: The University of Texas at El Paso

Journal of International Business Policy, 2021, vol. 4, issue 1, No 3, 28-57

Abstract: Abstract Evidence-based policymaking (EBP) contends that policy decisions are successful when informed by evidence. However, where policy problems are “wicked” (systemic, ambiguous, complex, and conflictual), politics trumps evidence and solutions are never first best or permanent. Applying an EBP approach to solving wicked problems (WPs) therefore appears to be a daunting, impossible task. Despite the difficulties, we contend that blending insights from the EBP and WP literatures can provide actionable and practical policy advice to governments and MNEs for dealing with the WPs of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We support our thesis with a case study applying EBP to the WP of SDG 5 Gender Equality. We compare the statistical evidence from gender inequality indexes to SDG 5’s targets and indicators. We provide five insights from the EBP and WP literatures into why and how good evidence is necessary but not sufficient for progress on SDG 5. Building on these insights, we recommend that governments adopt an EBP approach employing public–private partnerships to address SDG 5. We also recommend that MNE executives use our new SDG Materiality Matrix, designed on EBP principles, to build SDG 5 into their global corporate social responsibility strategies.

Keywords: sustainable development; gender equality; corporate social responsibility; evidence-based policymaking; wicked problems; gender inequality indexes; materiality; nonmarket strategy; policy-oriented studies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1057/s42214-020-00054-w

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