Arnaud Vaganay

PhD working title

'Experiments as reforms' – An international outlook on welfare policy.


In stark contrast with the institutional view of policy-making which justifies the resort to social experimentation by the need to understand 'what works' and to ground policy on 'solid evidence', this dissertation uses the public choice theory to shed a different light on the rules that govern political decisions in a context of uncertainty.

Through the analysis of welfare reforms conducted since the late 1990s in Europe and the US, and on the basis of state-of-the-art quantitative and qualitative methods, I intend to demonstrate that experiments are commissioned by governments in specific economic, social, political and institutional contexts to legitimate (as opposed to just assess) unpopular but pressing reforms. The use of – and publicity given to – experimentation results allow political decision makers to claim progress when the political debate stalls.


Dr Jouni Kuha, Department of Methodology , LSE

Dr Richard Jackman, Department of Economics, LSE

Research interest

Research methods (mixed methods);
Social experiments;
Comparative political economy;
Employment and social policies;
Role of evidence in policy-making;
Programme and policy evaluation.


Prior to my PhD, I worked for more than five years as a Communications and Management Consultant with Gellis Communications in Brussels. In this capacity, I managed or participated in a dozen of programme evaluations, mainly on behalf on the European Commission.

I hold a M.A. in European Studies (major Economics) from the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and the Warsaw School of Economics (Poland) as well as a M.Sc in Political Science (major Public Policy) from Sciences Po Grenoble (France).

Contact information

London School of Economics and Political Science
Columbia House, Room COL 7.02b
Houghton Street
United Kingdom