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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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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Do Vouchers Lead to Greater Learning? Depends Where (and When) You Look

At the center of the current education policy debate is the use of school vouchers to directly pay for children to attend whichever school they want. But what is the evidence on their effectiveness?

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Categories: Education

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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How to Help More Americans Get Jobs and Earn More: The WIA Gold Standard Evaluation

Recently published evaluation results found that not all approaches to helping unemployed Americans find work were equally effective. Intensive services lead to higher earnings, but more time is needed to determine the medium-term impact.

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Categories:

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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