Across medicine, business and government, there's no simpler or more powerful tool for finding out what works than a randomised experiment. Investigating everything from jails to ad campaigns, philanthropy to schools, the randomistas are building evidence and busting myths.
Randomised tests are carried out on us every day: by supermarkets, search engines, online dating sites and direct marketers. Political parties use randomised trials to win elections. But how do these tests work? Are there any ethical issues? And what do they reveal about our choices?
In Randomistas, Andrew Leigh tells the stories of radical researchers who overturned conventional wisdom in medicine, politics, economics, law enforcement and more. From finding the cure to scurvy to discovering what policies really improve literacy rates, randomistas have shaped life as we know it - but they often had to fight to conduct their trials and have their findings implemented.
In the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell, Randomistas is a brilliant and entertaining exploration of a hidden but vital foundation of modern life.
'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
'Randomistas takes the reader on a great journey about how data and experiments can make the world a better place, one policy at a time.' -Dean Karlan, professor of economics at Yale
Andrew Leigh is the federal member for Fraser and the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Before being elected in 2010, he was a professor of economics at the Australian National University. His books include Disconnected (2010), Battlers and Billionaires (2013) and The Economics of Just About Everything (2014).