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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Getting Meaningful Technical Assistance from Webinars: We Can Evaluate That

The field of technical assistance is changing rapidly. Many organizations that provide national and local technical assistance have moved toward the use of "virtual" TA. How can TA providers evaluate webinar-based TA?

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Is Poverty Falling Over the Long Run?

While overall poverty has decreased recently, trends in the last decades differ widely across age groups. For an explanation, look to welfare reform and Social Security.

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Are Voters More Polarized? The Answer is Complicated

As we head into what seems to be one of the most vitriolic presidential elections in recent history, we need to ask ourselves a central question: Is the American electorate now more deeply divided than before, even polarized beyond repair?

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Using Behavioral Nudges to Increase the Use of Government Services

The idea of using behavioral theory - and especially low-cost "nudges" informed by behavioral science - to influence individuals' decisions has been attracting a lot of interest lately.

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A New Paradigm for Innovation in the Development Ecosystem

During a recent talk at Devex World, I posed this question: "How do we learn from the world of business, the rapidly changing world of start-ups and the sharing economy to change the way we do development?"

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Data without Design: Don’t Do It!

In a recent blog post, Jacob Klerman and I argued that having administrative data available for answering a question about the impact of a program or intervention won't be successful unless paired with a good research design. Here is an all-too-typical example of why relying on administrative data, even where it includes the primary outcome of interest, is insufficient when a participant's entry into a program cannot be explained.  Since my purpose is general and not about the particular study, I’ve anonymized its description.

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