Monday, 25 June 2012

Test, Learn, Adapt

Michael Sanders writing in the CMPO blog

If there is a phrase more likely to attract rolled eyes than “Behavioural Economics it is probably “Evidence based policy” – one has in the past been derided for not really being economics, and the other for being more apt with the first and third words reversed. Supporters of both have often despaired. There is now, however, a glimmer of hope.

The Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Team, charged by the coalition with bringing behavioural science to policy-making, this week launched a paper with the title Test, Learn Adapt: Developing Public Policy with Randomised Controlled Trials, which is part manifesto for randomised controlled trials (RCT), and half handbook on how to conduct them. Although not comprehensive, its nine steps offer a simple guide to the basics of designing and running a trial.

Read the blog post in full here and get links to many appropriate documents as well.
Having sat on both sides of the policy-evidence fence I am, 20+ years after leaving the civil service, astounded that policy is still being made based on the whim of a politician, or group of them, with the evidence being sought after the event.

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