As a result of a 2015 Minnesota law, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) has developed numerous inventories of evidence-based programs, including in the areas of juvenile justice, criminal justice, adult and children’s mental health, substance use disorder, higher education, child welfare, public health, and education. MMB also maintains the Minnesota Inventory, a searchable clearinghouse of more than 730 programs operating in the state. As part of the inventory, the state developed a guide for using evidence in policymaking and evidence definitions to categorize interventions as proven effective, promising, theory based, or no effect. These definitions have been adopted by other agencies and are frequently included in state statute.
Minnesota relied on an institutionalized culture of generating impact by identifying and prioritizing evidence in its use of State Fiscal Recovery Funds. The state relied on evidence-based practices listed in the Minnesota Inventory to help agencies and subrecipients identify what ARP-funded activities were evidence-based and transparently report them for all projects (even where evidence-based information did not need to be reported to the U.S. Department of Treasury). Through June 2022, an estimated $2.36 billion of Minnesota’s State Fiscal Recovery Funds support 67 unique evidence-based practices implemented by just over 1,000 subrecipients. Examples of evidence-based practices supported include hospital-based violence intervention programs, unemployment insurance, crisis lines, increasing healthy food access at food shelves, rapid re-housing, and social emotional learning curricula.
The state’s impact evaluation unit regularly conducts impact evaluations with the results used to inform policymaking. For instance, the results of two 2022 impact evaluations led to changes in required duties of the contractors and expanded grant funding (both programs—Project Echo and Buprenorphine Bootcamps sought to increase the access of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder). This law also requires outcome reporting and allows MMB to conduct impact evaluations of these settlement funds.
The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy and MMB partnered with The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and a team of academics to test new messages designed to reduce dangerous co-prescribing of opioids with gabapentin and benzodiazepines. The evaluation randomly assigned prescribers to a range of messages (as well as a no message group) and are testing which is most effective. MMB also partnered with J-PAL and academics on a project to identify trusted messages and messengers to encourage Black and Hispanic communities to increase their rates of COVID-19 testing and vaccine uptake. The work also used a randomized control trial to test the right level of incentives to encourage COVID-19 vaccine uptake.
In 2021, Minnesota enacted legislation that requires recipients of state-funded pre-K-12 education grants to conduct an evidence-based evaluation. The legislation states: “each grant recipient must compile a report that describes the data that was collected and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies.”