About MEFLab

Esta página también está Disponible en Español

MEFLab conducts controlled experiments and takes advantage of natural experiments of public programs and interventions of significant thematic and budgetary scope, seeking to improve budget allocation and foster innovation in public policies.

What is the Public Policy Innovation Laboratory?

The Public Policy Innovation Laboratory is a dynamic space that fosters creativity in designing new public policy solutions. It uses existing evidence, conducts controlled experiments, and leverages natural experiments from programs and public interventions with a significant thematic and budgetary scale. In doing so, it generates rigorous and systematized evidence for more efficient budget allocation and ongoing innovation in public policy.

This laboratory is part of the General Directorate of Public Budget of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.


The Laboratory aims to use and generate systematized and reliable evidence on the cost-effectiveness of various programs, policies, and governmental interventions. This is achieved by designing controlled experiments and using natural experiments to measure the cost-effectiveness of public interventions.

Experimental studies are applied to all types of interventions, including low-cost interventions related to behavioral theory and information campaigns. However, the Laboratory primarily focuses on programs and public interventions with a significant thematic and budgetary scale, which are typically not rigorously evaluated.

Specific Objectives

· Conduct controlled experiments (RCTs) and utilize natural experiments from existing interventions and innovative proposals.

· Disseminate the results and implications of the evaluations.

· Promote the use of generated evidence to improve decision-making across sectors.

· Establish alliances with external teams, both national and international, to exchange experiences and knowledge, ensuring the rigor and objectivity of evaluations.


The Laboratory has four main mechanisms:

1. Internal evaluations in alliance with external researchers:

Rigorous evaluations of programs and public interventions with a significant thematic and budgetary scale will be conducted using controlled and natural experiments. The internal team will undertake these activities in alliance with renowned international/national researchers and facilitate collaboration with program/policy managers. While external researchers will bring technical knowledge and contribute to the legitimacy of evaluations.

2. Impact evaluation promotion contest:

The contest will select national and/or international researchers with expertise in impact evaluation through controlled or natural experiments. It aims to develop the necessary knowledge of innovations proposed by these researchers to improve the design and implementation of programs and public interventions.

3. Evidence repository:

Implementation of an online platform that provides information about the Laboratory, publishes evaluation results, presents profiles of collaborating researchers, and includes a national and international evidence repository.

4. Use of evidence:

Management of generated evidence in coordination with MEF specialists. For this purpose, easy-to-read documents will be provided with the main findings and recommendations to scale up cost-effective programs and redesign or discontinue those proven otherwise. This way, MEFLab uses generated evidence to inform and improve decision-making.


The Laboratory will initially have the following functions, subject to change as the innovation process matures:

  • Identify and prioritize evaluation needs for public interventions.
  • Design and implement evaluations using rigorous methodologies.
  • Coordinate evaluation implementation with other state entities and manage international cooperation and interactions with private institutions.
  • Systematize and disseminate rigorous evaluations and reliable information.
  • Promote the use of generated evidence.
  • Collaborate with external teams on methodological design and innovative evaluations.

Strategic Partners

The Laboratory has the strategic support of the Government Innovation Initiative of the University of Chicago and the following institutions:

  • Development Innovation Lab at the University of Chicago
  • University of Toronto
  • Budget Directorate - Government of Chile
  • Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Inter-American Development Bank