The big idea: Should governments run more experiments?
There is a growing movement to apply randomised trials not just in healthcare but in other things government does. Overseas development is perhaps the most advanced example. The results of trials run by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), for example, have deeply influenced how the UK government spends aid money. Applying scientific rigour to government programmes seems unobjectionable, especially in a world of fake news and backfiring populist policies. So why hasn’t it taken off faster?