Building the Evidence Base to Solve America’s Toughest Challenges

The federal government sponsors hundreds of programs designed to solve some of America's toughest challenges. The most important question facing policymakers and agency leadership is this: what public policies and programs work?

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Yes, You Can Generalize from Experiments!

One of the main criticisms of experimental evaluations is that they are conducted under such special circumstances that their results may not apply to other people, places, or times. A new wave of experimental evaluations is changing that.

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Why a Research Strategy Matters in Preventing and Responding to Pandemics

The World Health Organization's Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework seems to have all of the right elements: It calls for sharing influenza viruses, surveillance, stockpiles of medicines and vaccines, and more. Yet it rests on shaky footing.

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Translating Research to Public Health Action

During a recent keynote presentation at the Innovation in Infectious Diseases Research symposium, I gave the following challenge: To really translate research to public health action, we need to understand what meaningful collaboration looks like.

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Want Healthier Eating? Evidence Shows Limiting Choice Works

The federal government runs two programs to help poorer Americans feed their families. Evidence shows that if getting poor households to eat more healthy foods is a major policy goal, we should seriously consider limiting choice in food assistance.-

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When Is Randomization Right for Evaluation?

I advocate using randomized experiments because they provide a high level of confidence in the results. But they aren't always possible or appropriate. So what criteria should researchers use to decide when to use them?

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The Ethics of Experimental Evaluations, Things You Can Learn From Randomized Experiments, and More

Abt evaluation experts Stephen Bell and Laura Peck examine concerns about social experiments and provide ways to avoid common pitfalls.

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Performance Measurement? Proceed with Caution

A theme of the "New Management" is to better measure government performance and, in particular, the performance of individual workers. However, one must carefully weigh the costs and benefits of performance measurement.

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Internal versus External Validity in Rigorous Policy Impact Evaluations: Do We Have to Choose?

Can researchers give policymakers the right information about what is and is not working for the nation as a whole, especially when research is limited to select pockets of the country? This is not as impossible as it sounds.

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Black Boxes, the Counterfactual, and Bringing Order to RCTs

Abt evaluation experts are engaged in discussions to advance the leading edge of evaluation methods. Recently, Laura Peck and Allan Porowski shared insights on the American Evaluation Association blog AEA365.

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