Business Schools Collaborate on Large Cluster RCT

CLAHRC WM News Blog readers know that we like to find interesting examples of RCTs outside healthcare. How about randomising small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to different types of industrial policy. Business school colleagues have done just that, and randomised over 200 firms to receive an industrial policy intervention consisting of a voucher and some help or control.[1] Curiously it is quite hard from the paper to work out exactly how many firms were randomised in this parallel group, cluster RCT. There is no CONSORT type diagram. They call the study an RCT+, to signify that the study included in-depth qualitative studies to better understand pathways to success or failure. Our CLAHRC collaborates with one of the business schools involved (Warwick Business School) and we thoroughly applaud combining mixed methods research within the framework of large RCTs, especially in the usual situation where results are partly context dependent.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Bakhshi H, Edwards JS, Roper S, Scully J, Shaw D, Morley L, Rathbone N. Assessing an experimental approach to industrial policy evaluation: Applying RCT+ to the case of Creative Credits. Research Policy. 2015; 44: 1462-72.

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