Cambridge, MA -- The Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) announced today that it will support cities in improving the results they achieve with their contracted dollars as part of the “What Works Cities” initiative launched this week by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “What Works Cities” is an unprecedented philanthropic initiative to help 100 mayors of mid-size cities collect, interpret and use data and evidence in their policy and management decision-making with the goal of engaging the public, making government more effective and improving people’s lives. In addition to the Government Performance Lab, other organizations providing on the ground support as part of the What Works Cities initiative are Results for America, The Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Sunlight Foundation, and the Behavioral Insights Team.

“We are pleased to be part of the What Works Cities initiative and to help cities make better use of data and performance incentives to improve outcomes for citizens and more efficiently use taxpayer dollars,” said Jeffrey Liebman, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at HKS, director of the School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government and director of the Government Performance Lab. Through results-driven contracting projects, the Government Performance Lab will support cities in clearly defining performance goals, measuring outcomes achieved, tying payments to successful outcomes, and using performance data to inform future procurement decisions.

“While cities are working to meet new challenges with limited resources, they have access to more data than ever – and they are increasingly using it to improve people’s lives,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “We’ll help them build on their progress, and help even more cities take steps to put data to work.  What works? That's a question that every city leader should ask - and we want to help them find answers.” 

The Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School conducts research on how governments can improve the results they achieve for their citizens.   An important part of the Lab’s research model involves providing pro bono technical assistance to state and local governments.  Through this hands-on involvement, Lab researchers gain insights into the barriers that governments face and the solutions that can overcome these barriers. These insights are ultimately published as academic papers, policy briefs, and teaching cases. By engaging current students and recent graduates in this effort, the Lab provides experiential learning opportunities as well.  The Lab is located within the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School.

To learn more and apply for What Works Cities, visit


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