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 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 frequently asked questions, see our Q&A


On January 29, 2019, 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 Jessica Orozco, Program Manager at the County of Santa Clara Office of Supportive Housing, and James Sullivan, Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame and co-founder of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, who discussed their partnership on an evaluation of a Rapid Re-Housing program for single adults in Santa Clara County. A recording of the webinar can be found here.

The recordings of the webinars from previous rounds of the State and Local Innovation Initiative can be viewed on the initiative’s events page. 


If you have questions about the initiative or would like to discuss a potential proposal, please email Initiative Manager Rohit Naimpally.


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 Arnold Ventures.