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Evidence-Based Policy

We seek to increase the effectiveness of social spending through the use of rigorous evidence about what works. 

We know from the history of rigorous program evaluations that surprisingly few social programs succeed in producing meaningful progress in education, poverty reduction, crime prevention, and other areas. However, exceptional social programs that produce important improvements in people’s lives do exist. We work to identify, evaluate, and scale them. 

In order to build the body of proven-effective programs, Arnold Ventures’ Evidence-Based Policy team funds randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of programs across the spectrum of social policy whose prior evidence shows potential for sizable effects on education, earnings, crime, and other important outcomes. (See our requests for proposals and awarded RCTs.) We disseminate important findings from the evaluation literature on Social Programs That Work and Straight Talk on Evidence. We work with policymakers to reform government policies and programs to advance the use of evidence. We don’t accept unsolicited proposals, but contact us for general inquiries.

Requests for Proposals

RCT Findings


We fund Randomized Controlled Trials across the spectrum of social policy. Read a one-page summary of each completed study, including the program evaluated, the key study findings, and a link to the full study report.

See the findings
RCT Summaries


Find summaries of grants that have been funded by our Evidence-Based Policy team. Each summary includes a description of the program to be evaluated; the grant recipient, term, and funding; and a link to the study’s pre-specified analysis plan.

See the summaries


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Evidence-Based Policy RCT of SafeCare – an in-home, parent-training program that aims to reduce child neglect and maltreatment Summaries of RCT Grants Evidence-Based Policy Randomized Controlled Trial of Colorado Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) for new unemployment insurance claimants Summaries of RCT Grants Evidence-Based Policy A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Social Belonging Mindset Intervention for Students Entering Middle School Findings from RCT Grants Evidence-Based Policy Two Randomized Controlled Trials of Year Up’s Professional Training Corps (PTC) – a College-Based Version of Year Up’s Proven-Effective Workforce Training Program for Economically-Disadvantaged Young Adults Findings from RCT Grants Evidence-Based Policy A Three-Month Randomized Controlled Trial of Automated Enforcement of Outdoor Residential Watering Restrictions in Fresno, California Findings from RCT Grants Evidence-Based Policy A Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate BallotReady’s Make a Plan to Vote Online Tool to Increase Voter Turnout Findings from RCT Grants Evidence-Based Policy A randomized controlled trial to evaluate a supportive housing program for people experiencing chronic homelessness and high rates of justice involvement and emergency department utilization. Summaries of RCT Grants Evidence-Based Policy Randomized controlled trial of Apprenti: a workforce development program providing registered technology apprenticeships Summaries of RCT Grants
Straight Talk on Evidence

No spin, just evidence

We seek to distinguish credible findings of program effectiveness from the many others that claim to be but aren’t, through an easy-to-read, no-spin digest of recent program evaluation findings.

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Social Programs That Work

What Works in Social Policy?

We seek to identify those social programs shown in rigorous studies to produce sizable, sustained benefits to participants and/​or society, so that they can be deployed to help solve social problems.

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Arnold Ventures funds projects to understand problems and identify policy solutions.