LGL is committed to support decision-making in local governments through state-of-the-art program evaluation and survey research.
What We Offer
Learning about whether a given policy or initiative will have the intended consequences, will be well received by voters, or will be cost effective is extremely difficult. We help design, implement, and analyze randomized controlled studies and surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of government policies, programs, or internal practices. LGL is nonpartisan and works with any local representatives interested in collaborating. LGL also works with stakeholders to disseminate best practices so that communities can learn from each other.
The Problem We Try to Address
Local governments have to make important decisions with limited information. It is difficult to know whether any given policy solution will effectively address the community’s problem. Unfortunately, most local governments do not have the resources to conduct systematic evaluations of new programs. Even when rigorous evaluations are conducted, the results are not widely disseminated making it harder for public officials to learn from the experience of others.
The Local Governance Laboratory was created to provide expertise in policy evaluation and survey research to local governments. We are a group of academics with extensive experience in designing and fielding experiments in real world settings, in collaboration with public officials and nonprofit organizations. Experiments are the gold standard for policy evaluation and are widely used in many fields including international development, education, and advertising. However, they are underutilized in studying local governance.
Our goal is to help public officials to conduct rigorous analysis of their decisions to improve policy effectiveness and strengthen the relationship between voters and the government. We also promote the dissemination of best practices to allow all interested governments and organizations to learn from the policies that have been evaluated and to avoid wasting resources in ineffective policy solutions.
Local Partners Lead the Way
In all our collaborations, local partners take the leading role. We design studies based on the goals and capabilities of the partnering organization. We know from experience that the most successful projects are those tailored specifically to the goals and resources of the partnering organizations. Randomized controlled studies or survey research are not difficult to plan but adds an extra layer of complexity to the policymaking process. We work closely with the local partners to ensure that studies do not stretch organizational capacity, are mindful of the interests of the community, and answer the questions that the partners are interested in.
We do not charge any consulting fees for our services. Instead, we only require the permission of partners to academically publish the results from evaluation programs or surveys, so that others can learn from your experience. We can ensure that the project is reported anonymously so that it cannot be attributable to your local government, but disseminating lessons is a critical part of our mission.