Spotlight: Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Throughout the company’s history, Abt has been a critical resource to governments, international organizations, academia, and foundations around the world.
The company was founded in 1965 by Clark Abt. He brought together a group of scientists, engineers, and educators in a small office above a machine shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts and created a new kind of company—using interdisciplinary social science research to solve social, economic, and technological problems.
Abt Associates originally focused on transferring defense-related technology and systems to civilian application, such as the nation’s War on Poverty. These early efforts contributed to the development of the field of public policy research and established Abt’s reputation and capabilities. Over the company’s history, Abt’s studies contributed to several important policies, including the establishment of Section 8 housing, Head Start, as well as the National Day Care Study, the most frequently cited piece of daycare research for almost two decades. Abt now has 2,700 employees working in more than 60 countries.
Whether Abt is evaluating housing and health programs or analyzing the impact of environmental regulation here in the United States, strengthening health financing and governance in developing countries or assessing barriers to trade in West Africa, the company’s mission to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of people worldwide unites its worldwide staff.
Abt Associates applies a multidisciplinary approach to helping our customers—governments, foundations, and private organizations—make better decisions and deliver better products and services by providing them with the highest quality research, technical assistance, and consulting services available in the marketplace.
Practice and Expertise
Abt Associates’ practice areas include:
Using the most advanced methodologies, Abt provides policymakers, education professionals, and the general public with an objective and rigorous assessment of the effectiveness and value of education programs. Abt conducts evaluation studies across the entire continuum of education–from pre-school to graduate education. Their studies particularly emphasize disadvantaged and under-represented students.
Environment and Climate Change
Abt Associates is one of the premier providers of analytic support to key environmental agencies. Since 1979, they have contributed to improvements in water quality, cleaner air, safer drinking water, less hazardous chemical products, safer pesticide usage, and less risky dams and levees. Abt also analyzes the impacts of, and strategies to mitigate and adapt to, climate change. Their unbiased, state-of-the-art solutions help ensure that investments in environmental protection provide the greatest possible returns—and, as a result, save lives and restore ecosystems.
Food Security and Agriculture
Abt alleviates poverty and hunger by helping developing countries increase their capacity to produce, access, and use food. They reduce people’s vulnerability to climate change and degraded environmental conditions to ensure that women and men benefit fully from sustainable economic growth.
Health—U.S. and International
Abt Associates works with clients to tackle some of the biggest health challenges in the United States and the world, including health care reform and financing, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, child health, family planning and reproductive health, chronic disease, immunization, health literacy and behavioral health, tuberculosis, malaria, nutrition, and epidemiology.
Housing and Communities
Abt uses research and technical assistance expertise to promote healthy, sustainable communities and enhance the quality of life for families and individuals. Their staff work with cities, foundations, non-profits, states, and the federal government to conduct rigorous evaluations and support the successful implementation of housing and community revitalization initiatives.
Income Security and Workforce
Abt conducts research and evaluation related to the economic well-being and stability of children and families. Research areas include cash-assistance programs, workforce development strategies, food security programs, and programs to enhance the development of children, youth, and families.
Abt’s areas of expertise include:
Implementation and Technical Assistance
In partnership with governments, businesses, and foundations, Abt Associates implements programs to realize policy, business, and development goals. Whether working with local communities or national governments, they plan carefully with the client based on evidence, execute quickly, monitor to adapt and improve, and build local capacity.
Information Technology Applications and Analytical Computing
Abt Associates’ IT Solutions team assists clients in conceptualizing, designing, and implementing innovative software tools and IT-based products that enhance knowledge, are compatible with federal enterprise-related work, and meet security requirements. Abt’s internationally recognized experts in data management and analytic computing develop effective and elegant programming solutions to specific, often complex problems.
Research, Monitoring and Evaluation
Drawing on state-of-the-art research, monitoring and evaluation methods from a range of technical expertise, Abt Associates ensures its clients are effective and on the leading edge of policy change and program impact.
Social Marketing and Behavior Change
The goal of Abt Associates’ Social Marketing and Behavior Change Practice is to improve the quality of life for our constituents. Their multidisciplinary team works across international and domestic programs to ensure people are served in meaningful and lasting ways.
Survey and Data Collection
With a nearly 50-year record of excellence, Abt is known for innovative approaches to random assignment studies and computer-assisted data collection, among other areas.
Abt’s Policy Analysis Methods Center, one of eight Methods Centers within Abt, develops training courses and guidance documents and provides consultations with in-house experts to ensure that Abt Associates policy analysts always use best practices to implement the most current and rigorous approaches to policy analysis.
The Center focuses on:
Estimating the likely impacts of policy changes, including climate, environmental, agricultural, social and development policies;
Building economic and integrated assessment models that combine cost, risk, and benefits data to facilitate the calculation and analysis of the benefits and costs associated with alternative policies;
Econometric analysis, including understanding behavioral constraints to technology adoption;
Incorporating uncertainty analysis to better understand the range of potential policy impacts;
Developing new methods for quantifying ecological and human health risks and building computer models to calculate risk efficiently and cost-effectively, and;
Developing program sustainability analysis tools to assist governments and donors to develop strong but realistic policy and implementation plans.
To learn more about Abt Associates, visit www.abtassociates.com or connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.