Explaining differences in research utilization in evidence-based government ministries

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Studies of evidence-based policy have found that research often fails to influence policy-making and identify a number of barriers to research utilization. Less is known about what public administrations do to overcome such barriers. The article draws on a content analysis of 1,159 documents and 13 qualitative interviews to compare how and why evidence standards affect research utilization in two Danish ministries with available evidence, policy analytical capacity, and broad political agreement on key policy goals. The article finds support for the proposition that more exclusive evidence standards in ministries will lead to higher levels of research utilization by showing that average levels of research utilization are higher in the Ministry of Employment than in the Ministry of Children and Education in the period 2016?2021. In active employment policy the adoption an evidence hierarchy and the accumulating evidence in a knowledge bank has interacted with stakeholder support and a continued coordination with the Ministry of Finance to provide economic incentives for policy-makers to adopt evidence-based policies thus stimulating research utilization. Evidence for public education policy, by contrast, has been more contested and the Ministry of Children of Education retains inclusive evidence standards in an attempt to integrate evidencebased and practical knowledge from stakeholders, which has led to lower average levels of utilization in the period.
TidsskriftPolicy Sciences
Sider (fra-til)257-280
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - 2024


  • Evidence-based policy
  • Government ministries
  • Policy analytical capacity
  • Research utilization

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