Early Career Professional

Policy Evaluation Using Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) Masterclass

Ideology, ignorance and inertia – the three Is – on the part of the expert, the aid worker, or the local policy maker, often explain why policies fail. It is possible to make the world a better place – probably not tomorrow, but in some future that is within our reach – but we cannot get there with lazy thinking. We hope to persuade you that our patient, step-by-step approach is not only a more effective way….but also one that makes the world a more interesting place.

ABHIJIT V. BANERJEE AND ESTHER DUFLO, “Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty”, 2011

The use of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate public policies and programmes has become mainstream among social scientists and, increasingly, governments. RCTs promote robust, evidence-based policymaking, and give decision-makers the confidence that their selected policies will be effective. Yet the use of RCTs is still relatively new to many national and local governments in the region, partly because of the dearth of policy practitioners and researchers trained in this method.

Policymakers around the world have also begun to take seriously the insights offered by the growing field of behavioural economics and psychology. Instead of assuming that our citizens are the rational, interest-maximising agents we find in economics textbooks, behavioural economics starts with the more realistic assumption that people are affected by various cognitive complications. A growing body of research shows a number of situations in which individuals act in ways that run counter to the predictions of standard economics. Our rationality, self-control and self-interest are all bounded in ways that have important implications for the way governments design, implement and communicate policies.

Policymakers are often faced with the pressure of making timely, high quality solutions in an environment where time and information are lacking. These two fields of research which have transformed economics are no longer just good-to-know; but are must-knows for public officials.

In partnership with the world’s leading authorities on RCTs and Behavioural Insights, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy will offer a masterclass on Policy Evaluation Using Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTson 23 – 27 May 2016, and another on Applying Behavioural Insights to Public Policy (BI) on 27 June – 1 July 2016.

Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy National University of Singapore 469C Bukit Timah Road Singapore 259772

Mon 23 May 2016 to Fri 27 May 2016

12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Fri 13 May 2016

The course aims to give participants a deep and comprehensive understanding of RCTs and how they can be implemented in programme evaluation and policy research. At the end of the course, participants will:

  • Appreciate the value of evaluating policies and programmes using RCTs;
  • Learn how to conduct RCTs and natural experiments in a wide variety of policy areas; and
  • Gain hands-on experience working with data, randomising and sampling

To be conducted over 5 days, the masterclass will feature expert speakers from the LKY School of Public Policy and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), imparting different theoretical and practical insights on the application of RCTs to evaluating social interventions and policies.

Among the key topics would include:

  • What is evaluation?
  • Outcomes, impact and indicators
  • Why randomise?
  • How to randomise and randomisation mechanics
  • Sampling and sample size
  • Threats and analysis
  • Generalisability

This masterclass is suitable for policy analysts, researchers, and programme evaluation officers in government or in international organisations, non-profit organisations and the private sector. Participants should ideally have at least two years of professional experience in policy analysis, research or evaluation.


Mr. McRhon Banderlipe I
(65) 6516 6458

For general enquiries:
Executive Education Department
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
National University of Singapore
469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772

Tel: (65) 6601 3032 / (65) 6516 6458
Fax: (65) 6872 9291

Application Deadline:13 May 2016


Ruimin He

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

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Luc Behaghel

Associate Professor, PSE-École d’économie de Paris

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Greg Fischer

Assistant Professor, London School of Economics

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Jessica Goldberg

Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Maryland


Aprajit Mahajan

Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley

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