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Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy Joins Arnold Foundation

The Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a major mover in the Obama administration's push to use more experimental evidence in policy, is joining its longtime funder, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

In a letter to the coalition's board, President Jon Baron said the Washington-based group would close up shop on April 30. He and the rest of the staff would move to the foundation during the next few weeks.

Baron will become vice-president for policy in a new evidence-based innovation division. The "innovation" side of that group will be led by Kathryn Stack is the advisor for evidence-based innovation at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

The coalition launched in 2001, at the same time as the Institute of Education Science, and Baron has served as former chairman of its advisory board. The group's profile has risen in recent years, as federal agencies have sought ways to incorporate more quick-and-cheap randomized trials and incorporate tiered levels of evidence in competitive grants

"People may disagree about the optimal size of government and the amount of money dedicated to public services; however, nearly everyone agrees that whatever funds are spent should be directed toward programs that have a significant impact," said foundation President Denis Calabrese in a statement, adding that the division's goal "is to improve the public policy decision-making process so that taxpayer funds consistently support highly effective programs that use data and evidence to continually improve."

Baron told me the group will continue its competition to support low-cost randomized control trials, with the second round of grants to be announced in June and third round planned for next year. The new division of the Arnold Foundation will launch a separate program to support "strong impact evaluations to find what works to improve people's lives," he said.


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