Panel Paper: Using Rapid Cycle Experimental Impact Evaluation for Program Improvement

Friday, July 20, 2018
Building 3, Room 210 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Irma Perez-Johnson, American Institutes for Research

Rapid cycle randomized trials measure impacts of program and policy innovations whose efficacy is unknown but that hold promise for improving social and economic outcomes in metropolitan areas. “Rapid” means getting from conception to policy guidance in a hurry—on the order of 6 to 12 months rather than 5 or 6 years. A speeded up approach is accomplished by defining indictors of success that are observable in the short run, often from quickly available program administrative data. If early signs—i.e., treatment-control differences in the short-run indicators—are not favorable, a different intervention strategy is adopted or the current one adapted until gains are demonstrated. This presentation will describe how rapid cycle trials of this sort have help strengthened three labor market interventions in the U.S. Lessons learned applicable to a wide range of rapid cycle impact evaluations are offered, and the encouragement of widespread use through development of a “practitioners playbook” and an “implementation guide” described. The talk will conclude with insights and tips for bringing the rapid cycle trial approach to bear on metropolitan development policies.