Administrative Data Systems Key in Producing Rigorous and Low-Cost Program Evaluations Finds the Coalition for Evidence Based Policy

The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy ( ) recently published an overview and demonstration of rigorous-but-low-cost program evaluations. The publication highlights the use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with administrative data systems, providing a number of examples from existing studies. RCTs have long been a best practice with respect to program evaluation. The use of integrated administrative data in RCTs allows research to include more information on more, if not all, individuals included in the trial. Furthermore, the use of already-collected administrative data greatly reduces the costs associated with these sorts of rigorous evaluations, especially when accessed through integrated data systems with a lasting, multi-purpose infrastructure. RCTs using administrative data reduce the cost of program evaluation while still maintaining rigorous standards. The Coalition for Evidence Based Policy concludes, “These developments make it possible now, more than ever before, for policy officials to use scientific evidence about “what works” to increase government effectiveness.”

The publication is available through the following link:

Rigorous Program Evaluations on a Budget: How Low-Cost Randomized Controlled Trials Are Possible in Many Areas of Social Policy