2019-2020 Incubator: Science of Scaling



Edited Volume: The Scale-up Effect in Early Childhood and Public Policy

Despite a wealth of literature that demonstrates the value of early childhood interventions, the promise of such evidence-based programs has yet to generate significant population-level change for children and caregivers living in poverty. “The Scale-up Effect in Early Childhood and Public Policy: Why interventions lose impact at scale and what we can do about it” is an edited volume that brings together the latest and best research that can help reverse that trend. The volume features in-depth research that examines the science of scaling, the complexity of scaling in the early childhood setting, and promising approaches to overcoming the scale-up effect—to the great benefit of society.

Edited by John List, Dana Suskind, and Lauren Supplee, this book makes unique and actionable contributions to the literature, including, notably, a simple economic model that identifies elements of the scale-up problem and guidelines for researchers and policymakers across disciplines to more effectively approach scaling.

Featuring contributions from an esteemed and diverse group of authors, including economists, psychiatrists, physicians, field researchers, and early childhood practitioners, this volume will advance the efforts of researchers and policymakers trying to improve outcomes for millions of children across the world.

“The Scale-up Effect in Early Childhood and Public Policy” will be published by Routledge in 2021.

You can view the complete Table of Contents and list of contributors here.

Journal of Political Economy

In 2019-20, the Incubator helped to compile, edit, and publish a dedicated issue of the Journal of Political Economy. The issue featured diverse papers on the economics of childhood development. In September 2019, submitting authors presented early drafts at an authors’ conference at UChicago.

Academic Papers

For the 2019-20 Incubator, this NBER working paper (#25848) laid the foundation for much of the Incubator’s work on scaling: The Science of Using Science: Towards an Understanding of the Threats to Scaling Experiments – Omar Al-Ubaydli, John A. List,  Dana Suskind

Popular Press + More

Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet)” – John A. List and Dana Suskind on Freakonomics Radio

How Can Experiments Play a Greater Role in Public Policy?“– John A. List in Regulatory Review

Basing Laws on Nothing Is Easier Than Using Evidence” – John A. List and Eszter Czibor in The Atlantic