Implementing Randomized Evaluations in Government

Lessons from the J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative

The J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative supports US state and local governments in using randomized evaluations to generate new and widely applicable lessons about the effectiveness of their programs and policies. Drawing upon the experience of the state and local governments selected to participate in the initiative to date, this guide provides practical guidance on how to identify good opportunities for randomized evaluations, how randomized evaluations can be feasibly embedded into the implementation of a program or policy, and how to overcome some of the common challenges in designing and carrying out randomized evaluations.

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Case studies detailing different government engagements are interspersed throughout the guide, and available individually below.


What can be learned when the intended evaluation turns out not to be feasible?


How can a randomized evaluation be designed to minimize disruption to the usual recruitment and enrollment processes?

Puerto Rico

How can a research project be sustained across an administration change?

South Carolina

How can one research project build momentum for evidence-based policymaking and make the next research project easier?


How can a randomized evaluation be designed to address service providers’ concerns?