Experimental methods of policy evaluation are well-established in social policy and development eco-nomics but are rare in industrial and innovation policy. In this paper, we consider the arguments forapplying experimental methods to industrial policy measures, and propose an experimental policy eval-uation approach (which we call RCT+). This approach combines the randomised assignment of firmsto treatment and control groups with a longitudinal data collection strategy incorporating quantitativeand qualitative data (so-called mixed methods). The RCT+ approach is designed to provide a causativerather than purely summative evaluation, i.e. to assess both ‘whether’ and ‘how’ programme outcomesare achieved. In this paper, we assess the RCT+ approach through an evaluation of Creative Credits – aUK business-to-business innovation voucher initiative intended to promote new innovation partnershipsbetween SMEs and creative service providers. The results suggest the potential value of the RCT+ approachto industrial policy evaluation, and the benefits of mixed methods and longitudinal data collection.
© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Funding: Nesta, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the North West Development Agency.
- industrial policy
- qualitative research