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Research Question

  1. What institutions should Israel have in place for government to take a strategic perspective toward socioeconomic issues; take a long-term view; and consider, form, and implement a socioeconomic strategy?

Israel faces economic and social challenges. The government has not routinely developed and successfully implemented strategic responses to socioeconomic problems that demand longer-term, coordinated policy action. Effective means to respond to such longer-term challenges may require a more systematic government approach to policymaking. Researchers developed detailed recommendations related to institutions, processes, supporting information, outputs, and implementation for the Israeli government to apply a strategic perspective toward socioeconomic issues and develop a formal socioeconomic strategy for Israel should the government desire to do so. They mapped the institutions and processes in the formation of socioeconomic strategy in the state of Israel as they existed at the time of the project in 2011; described the information used to support strategy formation; analyzed the evaluation and monitoring processes in current strategy formation; identified the gaps in current strategy formation institutions, processes, information, and evaluation and monitoring; conducted international case studies of strategy formation; and compared Israeli practices with international practices.

Key Findings

There Are Seven Gaps in the Development and Management of Israeli Socioeconomic Strategy

  • Political leadership is not involved.
  • The government takes a reactive posture and does not initiate strategic approaches to policy challenges.
  • Ministries are not coordinating their policymaking.
  • Stakeholders and the public are not engaged enough.
  • Research and information are not being used adequately.
  • Transitioning strategy to policies and their implementation is difficult.
  • Measurement and evaluation of policy interventions are not sufficient.

Internationally, Various Governments Have Responded to Such Gaps Differently

  • Establishing a strategy unit that receives the prime minister's attention and has strong professional capabilities and gathering input from independent, nongovernmental institutions will help the strategic perspective and longer-term socioeconomic strategy. The strategy unit would develop a strategy with specific, attainable targets for the new government's term in office. Especially when those terms are short, the unit should continuously take a strategic perspective and develop a longer-term strategy, strategic alternatives, and strategic early warning.
  • Legal requirements and engaging the head of government can create and maintain demand for a strategic approach.
  • Each ministry should enhance its ability to take a strategic perspective. The prime minister's office should strengthen its ability to coordinate ministries and implement interministerial committees of directors-general and deputy directors-general.
  • Analytic tools and research should inform strategies and strategic perspectives.
  • Strategy documents should be published and as accessible as possible.
  • Connections to the budget will aid implementation.

Recommendations

  • Form a political-level strategy forum led by the prime minister to serve as the focal point for adoption of a strategic perspective, decisionmaking regarding strategy development, and oversight of management of the strategic process.
  • Form a professional-level socioeconomic strategy forum linked to the prime minister and made up of top civil servants that will serve as the focal point for coordinated thinking and management of a new socioeconomic strategic agenda.
  • Form a socioeconomic strategy staff unit as part of the National Economic Council to be the focal point of support and to provide professional support for the professional-level forum in government agenda formulation and management processes.
  • Create a new socioeconomic strategic agenda to be defined and promoted by the government for its term in office.
  • Create a mechanism within the prime minister's office for managing the plans for socioeconomic programs selected in the government's agenda.
  • Establish a forum for deputy directors-general; strengthen ministerial strategy, policy, and planning units; and develop ministry capabilities for taking a strategic perspective, translating strategies into policies, programs, and plans, and implementing them.
  • Establish a council of external stakeholders and experts to link the public to strategy processes.
  • Use research, monitoring, and evaluation to assess the work of new institutions and processes and the policies and programs that result from them.
  • Create formal and informal incentives for taking a strategic perspective, participating in the new institutions and processes, and using their outputs.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Strategy and the Strategic Perspective

  • Chapter Three

    The Strategic Perspective and Israel's Socioeconomic Challenges

  • Chapter Four

    International Comparisons of Socioeconomic Strategy Development and Implementation

  • Chapter Five

    Perceived Gaps in Israel

  • Chapter Six

    Recommendations for Anticipating and Responding to Socioeconomic Challenges

This research was undertaken jointly within RAND Labor and Population and the Environment, Energy, and Economic Development Program within RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.

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