Better public services through experimental government

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Alliance for Useful Evidence’s discussion document on Experimental Government.

  • Format Texts
  • Language/s English
  • Target Audience Researchers, Self-directed learning
  • EBM Stage 0 - Why EBM?, 1 - Asking focused questions
  • Duration >15 mins
  • Difficulty Advanced

Key Concepts addressed


If we want effective public services, we need an experimental, learning government –robustly and systematically testing things out, measuring them and growing what works.

Without experimentation government stagnates. And we can’t afford business as usual in the face of the immense challenges to adapt to ageing populations, climate change and fiscal pressures.

In business, experimentation is commonplace. Google claims to have run 12,000 randomised experiments in just one year, with about 10 per cent of these leading to business changes. In a recent survey by Nesta of UK internet economy businesses, controlled trials and experiments were the fastest growing analytical techniques used.

Experimentation is also mainstream in science, medicine and international development. But it is not routinely used in social policy interventions in the UK.
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