Once primarily used in medical clinical trials, random assignment experimentation is now accepted among social scientists across a broad range of disciplines. The technique has been used in social experiments to evaluate a variety of programs, from microfinance and welfare reform to housing vouchers and teaching methods. How did randomized experiments move beyond medicine and into the social sciences, and can they be used effectively to evaluate complex social problems? Fighting for Reliable Evidence provides an absorbing historical account of the characters and controversies that have propelled the wider use of random assignment in social policy research over the past forty years. Drawing from their extensive experience evaluating welfare reform programs, noted scholar practitioners Judith M. Gueron and Howard Rolston portray randomized experiments as a vital research tool to assess the impact of social policy. In a random assignment experiment, participants are sorted into either a treatment group that participates in a particular program, or a control group that does not. Because the groups are randomly selected, they do not differ from one another systematically. Therefore any subsequent differences between the groups can be attributed to the influence of the program or policy. The theory is elegant and persuasive, but many scholars worry that such an experiment is too difficult or expensive to implement in the real world. Can a control group be truly insulated from the treatment policy? Would staffers comply with the random allocation of participants? Would the findings matter? Fighting for Reliable Evidence recounts the experiments that helped answer these questions, starting with the income maintenance experiments and the Supported Work project in the 1960s and 1970s. Gueron and Rolston argue that a crucial turning point came during the 1980s, when Congress allowed states to experiment with welfare programs and foundations, states, and the federal government funded larger randomized trials to assess the impact of these reforms. As they trace these historical shifts, Gueron and Rolston discuss the ways that strategies for resolving theoretical and practical problems were developed, and they highlight the strict conditions required to execute a randomized experiment successfully. What emerges is a nuanced portrait of the potential and limitations of social experiments to advance empirical knowledge. Weaving history, data analysis and personal experience, Fighting for Reliable Evidence offers valuable lessons for researchers, policymakers, funders, and informed citizens interested in isolating the effect of policy initiatives. It is an essential primer on welfare policy, causal inference, and experimental designs.
A fascinating account of how radical researchers have used experiments to overturn conventional wisdom and shaped life as we know it Experiments have consistently been used in the hard sciences, but in recent decades social scientists have adopted the practice. Randomized trials have been used to design policies to increase educational attainment, lower crime rates, elevate employment rates, and improve living standards among the poor. This book tells the stories of radical researchers who have used experiments to overturn conventional wisdom. From finding the cure for scurvy to discovering what policies really improve literacy rates, Leigh shows how randomistas have shaped life as we know it. Written in a “Gladwell-esque” style, this book provides a fascinating account of key randomized control trial studies from across the globe and the challenges that randomistas have faced in getting their studies accepted and their findings implemented. In telling these stories, Leigh draws out key lessons learned and shows the most effective way to conduct these trials.
Obama's Fight for Rigor and Results in Social Policy
Author: Ron Haskins
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Category: Political Science
The first comprehensive history of the Obama administration's evidence-based initiatives. From its earliest days, the Obama administration planned and enacted several initiatives to fund social programs based on rigorous evidence of success. Ron Haskins and Greg Margolis tell the story of six—spanning preschool and K-12 education, teen pregnancy, employment and training, health, and community-based programs. Readers will appreciate the fast-moving descriptions of the politics and policy debates that shaped these federal programs and the analysis of whether they will truly reshape federal social policy and greatly improve its impacts on the nation's social problems. Based on interviews with 134 individuals (including advocates, officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council, Congressional staff, and officials in the federal agencies administering the initiatives) as well as Congressional and administration documents and news accounts, the authors examine each of the six initiatives in separate chapters. The story of each initiative includes a review of the social problem the initiative addresses; the genesis and enactment of the legislation that authorized the initiative; and the development of the procedures used by the administration to set the evidence standard and evaluation requirements—including the requirements for grant applications and awarding of grants.
In January 1970 Alice M. Rivlin spoke to an audience at the University of California-Berkeley. The topic was developing a more rational approach to decisionmaking in government. If digital video, YouTube, and TED Talks had been inventions of the 1960s, Rivlin's talk would have been a viral hit. As it was, the resulting book, Systematic Thinking for Social Action, spent years on the Brookings Press bestseller list. Is is a very personal and conversational volume about the dawn of new ways of thinking about government. As deputy assistant secretary for program coordination, and later as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare from 1966 to 1969, Rivlin was an early advocate of systems analysis, which had been introduced by Robert McNamara at the Department of Defense as PPBS (planning-programming-budgeting-system). While Rivlin brushes aside the jargon, she digs into the substance of systematic analysis and a 'quiet revolution in government. In an evaluation of the evaluators, she issues mixed grades, pointing out where analysts had been helpful in finding solutions and where—because of inadequate data or methods—they had been no help at all. Systematic Thinking for Social Action offers important insights for anyone interested in working to find the smartest ways to allocate scarce funds to promote the maximum well-being of all citizens.
The member states of the EU have only very recently begun to consider race and racism in the framework of equality legislation and policies. As opposed to an established Anglo-Saxon tradition of naming races and using racial categorisation to fight racism, most continental European countries resist this approach. This book investigates the problematic reception and elaboration of race as a socio-legal category in Europe. Fighting Discrimination in Europe takes a fresh and interdisciplinary look at the normative, theoretical and concrete problems raised by the challenge of devising and enforcing policies to combat race discrimination in Europe. It engages with the juridical and political spheres, from the international level down to concrete cases of state and city policies. As the multifaceted relationship between race, discrimination and immigration is explored, new normative positions and practical approaches are developed, and new questions raised. This collection presents important new research for academics, researchers, and advanced students of Ethnic Studies, Migration Studies, Legal Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, and Policy Studies. This book was originally published as a special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies.
Protestants, Catholics and the origins of violence in Victorian Belfast
Author: Mark Doyle
Publisher: Manchester Univ Pr
This fascinating book about Belfast in the middle of the nineteenth century looks at how and why Ireland’s most prosperous and industrialized town began to tear itself apart. This study provides a vivid example of how a society can come apart at the seams -- and how it can stay that way for generations. Through a series of steadily escalating riots, working-class Protestants and Catholics forged a tradition of violence that profoundly shaped their own identities and that of the city itself, setting the stage for the bitter conflicts of the next century. Fighting Like the Devil for the Sake of God describes that foundational moment, offering a new analysis of Belfast’s violence that is rooted in the social lives of those who constructed this bitter rivalry and those who were forced to endure it. This book will be of interest to scholars in the fields of Irish and Modern History.
Fighting Bureaucrats, Radical Groups, And Liberal Judges on America's Frontier
Author: William Perry Pendley
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Category: Political Science
With dramatic storytelling and hard-hitting facts, former Marine, Capitol Hill lawyer, and Reagan Administration official William Pendley puts human faces on Westerners' historic and often precedent-setting fights against big government.
Extend the human story backward for the five thousand years of recorded history and it covers no more than a millionth of a lifetime of the Earth. Yet how do we humans take stock of the history of our planet, and our own place within it? A “vast historical mosaic” (Publishers Weekly) rendered engaging and accessible, Big History interweaves different disciplines of knowledge to offer an all-encompassing account of history on Earth. Since its publication, Cynthia Brown’s “world history on a grand scale” (Kirkus) has been translated into nine languages and has helped propel the “big history” concept to viral status. This new edition of Brown’s seminal work is more relevant today than ever before, as we increasingly must grapple with accelerating rates of change and, ultimately, the legacy we will bequeath to future generations. Here is a pathbreaking portrait of our world, from the birth of the universe from a single point the size of an atom to life on a twenty-first-century planet inhabited by 7 billion people.
A breakthrough guide for cancer patients on using the mind to treat the body, from a pioneer in complementary medicine Recent research has shown that the mind can make a tremendous difference in not only the daily experience of living with cancer but also in the potential for overcoming it. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Martin L. Rossman-hailed as "one of the greatest healers of our generation" by Rachel Naomi Remen-shows cancer patients how to use imagery in specific ways that can help them in their fight against cancer. Imagery is a natural, efficient way of storing and processing information, and one that has powerful effects on both emotional states and physiology. And while imagery is not a substitute for medical, surgical, or other physical approaches to cancer therapy, scientific studies have proven that it complements and enhances those treatments in many important ways. In this first book of its kind, Rossman provides specific ways to use imaging in fighting cancer. Praise for Guided Imagery for Self-Healing: "This superb collection of imagery techniques is a landmark contribution to the emerging field of behavioral medicine." -Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind