Randomistas How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World Andrew Leigh

Publication date:
15 May 2018
Yale University Press
288 pages: 235 x 156mm
Sales territories:
World excluding Australia and New Zealand 

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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.

Andrew Leigh is shadow assistant treasurer and an Australian MP. Before entering politics he worked as an economics professor at the Australian National University. His books include Disconnected, Battlers and Billionaires, and The Luck of Politics.

"Packed with tantalizing tales, Randomistas is essential reading for anyone interested in debunking myths and uncovering hidden truths."—Steven Levitt, coauthor of Freakonomics

"The subject of this book could hardly be more vital: are we humble enough to admit we may be wrong, and do we care enough to learn? Randomistas is rigorous, impassioned and tremendous fun. Everyone should read it." —Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy

"Randomistas is a tour de force – an engaging, passionate, how-to account of randomised experiments. After reading Leigh’s book, you’ll be baffled at the many businesses and governments yet to catch on. Fortunately, Leigh also offers a simple guide that anyone can follow. If the next generation of policymakers follows his advice – and let’s hope they do - this book will literally change the world." —David Halpern, head of the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team, author of Inside the Nudge Unit