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Assessing an experimental approach to industrial policy evaluation: Applying RCT+ to the case of Creative Credits

In this paper we assess the RCT+ approach through an evaluation of Creative Credits – a UK business-to-business innovation voucher initiative

Nesta Working Paper 15/10

Issued: May 2015 

Keywords: Evaluation, experimental, industrial policy, innovation, creative, qualitative research

Abstract:

Experimental methods of policy evaluation are well-established in social policy and development economics but are rare in industrial and innovation policy. In this paper we consider the arguments for applying experimental methods to industrial policy measures, and propose an experimental policy evaluation approach (which we call RCT+).

This approach combines the randomised assignment of firms to treatment and control groups with a longitudinal data collection strategy incorporating quantitative and qualitative data (so-called mixed methods). The RCT+ approach is designed to provide a causative rather than purely summative evaluation, i.e. to assess both ‘whether’ and ‘how’ programme outcomes are achieved.

In this paper we assess the RCT+ approach through an evaluation of Creative Credits – a UK business-to-business innovation voucher initiative intended to promote new innovation partnerships between SMEs and creative service providers. The results suggest the potential value of the RCT+ approach to industrial policy evaluation, and the benefits of mixed methods and longitudinal data collection.

Authors:

Hasan Bakhshi, Nesta
John S. Edwards, Aston Business School
Stephen Roper, Enterprise Research Centre and Warwick Business School
Judy Scully, Aston Business School
Duncan Shaw, Manchester Business School
Lorraine Morley, Warwick Business School
Nicola Rathbone, Aston Business School

Authors

Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics

Hasan leads Nesta's creative and digital economy policy and research.

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