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

Hasan Bakhshi, John S. Edwards, Stephen Roper*, Judy Scully, Duncan Shaw, Lorraine Morley, Nicola Rathbone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1462-1472
Number of pages11
JournalResearch policy
Issue number8
Early online date8 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Funding: Nesta, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the North West Development Agency.


  • evaluation
  • experimental
  • industrial policy
  • innovation
  • creative
  • qualitative research


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