With citizens for citizens

Empirical, interdisciplinary, collaborative

wirksam regieren draws on existing knowledge from a wide variety of research disciplines and tests applied solutions using various empirical social research methods. The unit is made up of scientists and experts from a wide variety of disciplines such as psychology, educational research, economics and law.

Collaborative. wirksam regieren works closely with experts in ministries and other government agencies, external experts as well as with citizens.

Approach: understanding – designing – testing – evaluating


The first step of each project is to understand the situation and the viewpoint of all stakeholders.

To this end, and depending on the details of the project, input is collected from citizens, consumers or users on questions such as: do the affected parties benefit in the intended manner from a proposed policy? How do citizens experience public services and where do they see potential for improvement? Are forms, applications and legal language easy to understand and clear? Is the information provided to consumers helpful? wirksam regieren works interdisciplinarily and builds on the latest findings of the empirical social sciences. For example, behavioural and decision sciences provide insights into how people deal with information or perceive processes.


In a second step, design alternatives for a proposed policy are developed from these results.

Wherever appropriate, citizens are involved in this process of developing design alternatives. Citizens’ experiences and viewpoints are thus taken into account.


The various design options are empirically tested with a view to their actual effect, user-friendliness or clarity. Issues can be identified early on to optimize delivery and implementation.


Ministries or authorities define the research question and the project scope. wirksam regieren formulates and implements the research design, collects data and evaluates it.

The results become part of the political process and decision-making in the ministries and government agencies.

The benefits of this approach: the effectiveness of political projects can be optimised from the citizens’ point of view: laws and programmes become more targeted. Information is made clearer. Forms, processes and legal language become simpler. Unnecessary bureaucracy is avoided and taxpayers’ money is saved.

Effectiveness requires evidence

Policymakers set goals. Ministries and other government agencies then search for the best way to achieve these goals.

Rapid technological, digital and societal change, increasing complexity and governance principles such as effective allocation of spending are the context government works in. Societal challenges often have many underlying causes and the best solution is not always immediately clear. Often, there are various, sometimes competing approaches to addressing those challenges.

wirksam regieren assists ministries and other government agencies in identifying the best of competing approaches by employing scientific expertise and methods. Alternatives solutions are tested practically to generate insights and provide an informational basis for policymakers to make decisions.

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