Partner selection into policy relevant field experiments

Michele Belot, Jonathan James

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This study investigates the issue of self-selection of stakeholders into participation and collaboration in policy-relevant experiments. We document and test the implications of self-selection in the context of randomised policy experiment we conducted in primary schools in the UK. The main questions we ask are (1) is there evidence of selection on key observable characteristics likely to matter for the outcome of interest and (2) to what extent does selection matter. The experimental work consists in testing the effects of an intervention aimed at encouraging children to make more healthy choices at lunch. We recruited schools through local authorities and randomised schools across two incentive treatments and a control group. We document the selection-taking place both at the level of local authorities and at the school level. Overall we find mild evidence of selection on key observables such as obesity levels and socio-economic characteristics. We find evidence of selection along indicators of involvement in healthy lifestyle programmes at the school level, but the magnitude is small.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-56
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Early online date30 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Selection
  • Field experiments
  • Randomised controlled trials
  • External validity


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