Conference paper Open Access
There has been an encouraging level of momentum and interest among policymakers and researchers behind the need for more rigorous and credible evidence to inform public policy decisions. The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT has made significant progress in meeting this demand by spurring new research, translating and synthesizing existing bodies of research, empowering policymakers to generate and consume evidence, convening researchers and decision makers, and creating public goods that encourage best practices in rigorous, transparent research. Chief among these best practices are the use of randomized evaluation to rigorously test what works for the poor and the use of administrative data to make such scientific, low-cost research possible. By bringing together academics, policymakers, and practitioners in the field around this set of best practices, we can generate rigorous evidence, gain important policy insights, and translate those lessons into concrete policy action.