Policy Brief
Experiments in government performance

Experimental studies using randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are a powerful tool in policy analysis. They have been sometimes hailed as the best means of identifying ‘what works’ in development policy. However, it would be unwise to rely solely on findings from RCTs to guide policy. While RCTs work well to evaluate particular types of interventions and development theories, they tell us little about the alternatives – which are numerous, particularly in certain areas, such as governance reform.