NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Mechanism Experiments and Policy Evaluations

Jens Ludwig, Jeffrey R. Kling, Sendhil Mullainathan

NBER Working Paper No. 17062
Issued in May 2011
NBER Program(s):   POL

Randomized controlled trials are increasingly used to evaluate policies. How can we make these experiments as useful as possible for policy purposes? We argue greater use should be made of experiments that identify behavioral mechanisms that are central to clearly specified policy questions, what we call "mechanism experiments." These types of experiments can be of great policy value even if the intervention that is tested (or its setting) does not correspond exactly to any realistic policy option.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17062

Published: Jens Ludwig & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2011. "Mechanism Experiments and Policy Evaluations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 17-38, Summer. citation courtesy of

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