Building a Policy Lab with the Spanish Ministry of Social Inclusion

In May 2020, the Government of Spain launched a national minimum income scheme (IMV, igreso mínimo vital), a cash transfer programme targeting households at risk of experiencing social exclusion and poverty. Recognising that other kinds of social inclusion programming can potentially play an important complementary role in helping households exit poverty, the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration (MISSM) directed part of Spain’s Covid-19 NextGenerationEU Recovery Plan funds to the implementation of innovative social inclusion programmes aiming to complement or extend the effects of the minimum income scheme. 

Establishing a Policy Lab for social inclusion

To better understand the effectiveness of these policies, the government has committed to evaluating these programmes through a series of randomised evaluations, which will provide rigorous insights to inform social policy in Spain at both the national and regional levels. The lessons will also contribute to a growing evidence base on designing more effective social programmes across Europe.

J-PAL Europe has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry’s Secretariat General for Inclusion Goals and Policies and Social Welfare (SGOPIPS, by its Spanish acronym). It has seconded a member of our team to work with the Ministry in advising on evidence generation and use and to provide capacity-building geared towards institutionalizing a culture of evidence use. 

Co-creating and using evidence

Together with a team of 17 Spanish and international researchers coordinated by the Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros (CEMFI), J-PAL Europe is providing technical assistance on the evaluation design of 34 randomised evaluations of pilot social inclusion programmes that target beneficiaries of the minimum income. 

These programmes, implemented by Spain’s regional and local governments and NGOs, include measures such as providing beneficiaries with job search support and apprenticeship training, free childcare for parents, tailored tutoring for their children, or assistance for families who may be entitled to social benefits which they do not yet claim. 

The rigorous insights generated from these evaluations will help inform each partners’ programming and contribute to a growing evidence base on designing more effective social programs across Europe.

The Team

J-PAL Europe has a dedicated staff presence to support the work of the Ministry and partners. For more information, contact Ana Garciá-Hernández.


Secretariat General for Inclusion Goals and Policies and Social Welfare (SGOPIPS) at the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security, and Migration (MISSM).


CEMFI is leading a group of researchers providing technical assistance to the project based on their expertise in experimental methods and policy evaluation.

Mónica Martinez-Bravo (CEMFI; J-PAL affiliate) and Samuel Bentolila (CEMFI) are coordinating and leading the group. Other researchers participating in the project are:

Promoting a culture of evidence based policy

In July 2022, MISSM, CEMFI and J-PAL Europe co-organised an event to mark the launch of the Policy Lab in Madrid. J-PAL Europe Scientific Director Abhijit Banerjee delivered a keynote lecture about using evidence-based policies in Europe after discussing the topic in a public dialogue with the Prime Minister of Spain, Mr. Pedro Sánchez.

Ministerio de Inclusion



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