Massachusetts Institute of Technology

To launch a research network that promotes the rigorous empirical study of economic issues in North America

  • Amount $3,562,684
  • City Cambridge, MA
  • Investigator Amy Finkelstein
  • Initiative Empirical Economic Research Enablers (EERE)
  • Year 2013
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Economics

The grant provides partial support to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to expand its influential Abdul Lateef Jameel-Poverty Action Laboratory (J-PAL), creating a sister network focused on the use of randomized controlled trials to study economic issues in North America. Led by economists Amy Finkelstein of MIT and Lawrence Katz of Harvard, the new network, J-PAL North America, will build a cadre of researchers devoted to the rigorous empirical study of questions important to the formation of public policy across a variety of issues, including crime, health, and poverty. Finkelstein, Katz and their team will build a shared administrative data platform to be used by network researchers; provide seed funding to help launch promising or innovative research projects; establish a central clearinghouse to match researchers with government or other institutional partners; and provide a centralized training program for the conduct of randomized controlled trials and policy evaluations. Other funded activities include the review and synthesis of existing evidence-based literature; the production of policy briefs for policymakers and other interested stakeholders; and the development of several “evidence workshops” to communicate with policymakers, potential donors, activists, and social entrepreneurs.

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