Promoting public health: Can fiscal policy play a role?
January-March 2015

Data-based policy

Now, I am entering into what Pak Adhi presented, the need for policy to be supported by evidence-based studies. The government is trying to perform at that level, but I have to be honest. Quality from government offices, from our bureaucracy is limited.

Why? Because with the remuneration package we have right now, the best and the brightest people will not want to work in government offices. One, the salary is too low. Second, the risk of being detained [on corruption charges] is too high. [laughter]

I am serious about this. It is difficult to find graduates from the best universities who want to become government officials. Because the best and the brightest will be in the private sector while the government sector will get those who are less and less competitive in the market. They will end up as government officials.

These are the conditions. And then they are told to create miracle-based policy evidence. There are constraints. And then the businessmen say, “OK, let’s make [the study] together.” If it comes 100 percent from the businessmen, the policy recommendation must be for the interests of the businessmen. Government is very bad at picking leaders, but losers are very good at picking the government. [laughter]

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