May 6, 2013
Researchers and policy makers are increasingly dissatisfied with the ‘‘average treatment effect.’’ Not only are they interested in learning about the overall causal effects of policy interventions, but they want to know what specifically it is about the intervention that is responsible for any observed effects. In the U.S., using experimentally-designed evaluation to capture the average treatment effect is both commonplace and preferred practice; but, as this paper argues, there are many important questions yet to be asked and answered via our body of experimental research. As a reconsideration of Peck (2003), on the tenth anniversary of its publication, this article recasts earlier work on analyzing ‘‘what works’’ as a call to action for evaluators and policy analysts: we can and should do better. Read Part II of the method note. Read Part III of the method note.