About the State and Local Innovation Initiative

The J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative supports state and local leaders in designing and implementing randomized evaluations and using the evidence generated to inform their decision-making.

Through the Request for Letters of Interest, announced once each year, J-PAL North America invites state and local governments to submit proposals describing how rigorous evidence would help answer an important policy question. Selected state and local governments receive project development awards, including technical support from J-PAL staff, flexible funding, and connections with J-PAL’s network of academic researchers.

The Request for Proposals (RFP), announced twice each year, invites proposals from state and local governments that have partnered with a J-PAL affiliate, J-PAL post-doctoral fellow, or invited researcher. Selected governments and their research partners receive implementation funding for pilot studies or full research projects.


A two-page overview of the initiative is available here.

To learn how randomized evaluations can inform important policy questions, see the J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative Policy Brief.

For practical guidance on how to identify opportunities for randomized evaluations, feasibly embed randomized evaluations into the implementation of a program or policy, and overcome common challenges, see our Guide to Implementing Randomized Evaluations in Government: Lessons from the J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative.

For answers to common questions, see our Q&A.


On January 23, 2018, J-PAL North America hosted a webinar to provide additional information about the State and Local Innovation Initiative, review the application process, and answer questions. The webinar featured Corinne Weaver, Director of Research and Evaluation at Catholic Charities Fort Worth, and Melissa Kearney, Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland. They discussed their partnership on an evaluation of Stay the Course, an innovative program aimed at increasing degree completion among low-income community college students. The recording of this webinar and the slides presented can be viewed here

The webinar from the previous round of the State and Local Innovation Initiative can be viewed here


If you have further questions about the application process or would like to discuss a potential proposal, please email Initiative Manager Julia Chabrier.


Mary Ann Bates (Executive Director, J-PAL North America) and Bruce Sacerdote (Dartmouth College) are co-chairs of the State and Local Innovation Initiative.


Support is provided by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.


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