Scaling up an evaluated pilot

three arrows pointing up
Innovate, test, scale: Replicating and expanding a successful evaluated pilot to similar contexts.

A classic approach to evidence-based policy design is to first test an innovation at smaller scale, rigorously evaluate it, and scale the pilot up in the same context if it is shown to be successful. In particular, this method has been applied by governments that have created space for piloting and evaluation as a means to test promising new innovations or tweaks to existing programs. However, there can be important differences in context even within the same country or state, so it is important to factor in administrative capacity to implement the intervention on a broader scale and to consider potential general equilibrium effects.

For example, in Indonesia, researchers found that providing identification cards to beneficiary households improved access to Indonesia’s national rice subsidy program. The researchers tested three variations of intervention, and found that including price information on the cards and making eligibility information public to the community further increased the subsidy that eligible households received. This evidence informed the Government of Indonesia’s decision to scale up social assistance identification cards for a range of programs to the poorest households across the country.

Case Studies

Installed directly at community water sources, chlorine dispensers provide a visual reminder to use chlorine and are calibrated to deliver a precise dose of chlorine solution to treat the most commonly used water transport containers.

Community chlorine dispensers for better health

Innovative safe drinking water technology has reached 4 million people in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda.
Kenya’s National School-Based Deworming Programme rolls out in Kwale province, Kenya.

Deworming to increase school attendance

After research found that school-based distribution of deworming pills in areas with high infection rates boosted health and school attendance, the approach has been scaled to reach over 280 million children in 2019.
Three people stand at corrugated tin stand advertising mobile services in a field in Kenya

Giving directly to support poor households

GiveDirectly has expanded its cash transfer program, which was found in a randomized evaluation to have improved economic and psychological well-being in Kenya, to reach over 125,000 households in rural Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda since 2013.
Indonesians participate in their community block grants meetings and decision-making process as part of Generasi, 2007

Incentivized community grants for aid effectiveness

A performance-incentivized community grant program shown to accelerate improvements in health reached about 4.9 million people from 2010 to 2018 and generated important lessons for future programs to reduce childhood stunting in Indonesia.
Improving learning through intensive individualized tutoring in the US

Individualized tutoring to improve learning

Saga Education’s intensive math tutoring program has been shown to improve academic outcomes and has now reached 2,500 students facing barriers in the United States.
Fishing boat in Chile

Information and enforcement to reduce overfishing

Evidence from a randomized evaluation and cost-effectiveness analysis led the Chilean government to expand a consumer information campaign to protect at-risk marine species.
Many files stacked next to each other, with a date reading 2011.

Information and mediation to improve labor courts

The Government of Mexico used insights from a randomized evaluation to inform a national labor law.

Parental engagement to improve children's schooling

The French Ministry of Education has expanded a parental involvement program to all public schools in the country on a voluntary basis.