January 2021

Special Journal Issue Built Around TMW Center Work

This month, the Journal of Behavioural Public Policy (BPP), an esteemed interdisciplinary and international journal dedicated to the study of human behavior, published a special issue titled “Field Experiments and Public Policy.”

As the journal’s editors note in their introduction: “The proposal for this special issue was sent to us by Professor John List a few years ago. List has probably done more than anyone else to advance the methods and practice of field experiments, and he and his colleagues Omar Al-Ubaydli, Min Sok Lee, Claire L. Mackevicius and Dana Suskind contribute the lead article to this special issue.”

That article, written by TMW Center Co-Directors List and Suskind and colleagues is titled “How can experiments play a greater role in public policy? Twelve proposals from an economic model of scaling,” and offers a series of practical takeaways from our center’s ongoing work on the science of scaling.

We believe firmly that the science of scaling represents the next frontier in evidence-based policy making. Time and time again, we see interventions that deliver promising results in research settings fail to deliver the same positive effects when scaled up to a broader population. Understanding why is the critical question at the heart of the science of scaling, and one with enormous consequences for policy in early childhood and beyond.

This special issue of BPP, which includes eight additional papers that respond to the lead article, is an exciting step in ensuring that the broader research and policy communities recognize the critical importance of scaling as well.