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Almost random: Evaluating a large-scale randomized nutrition program in the presence of crossover

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  • Linnemayr, Sebastian
  • Alderman, Harold

Abstract

Large-scale randomized interventions have the potential to uncover the causal effect of programs applying to a large population, thereby improving on the insights gained from currently dominant smaller randomized studies. However, the external validity gained through larger interventions typically risks deviation from the randomization protocol. This paper investigates the impact of the Nutrition Enhancement Program, which aims to improve child nutrition in Senegal. The analysis deals with deviation from the planned treatment and suggests approaches for combining ex-post adjustments such as propensity score matching with the randomized treatment plan. The authors do not detect a strong overall program impact on the outcome measure of weight-for-age based on planned treatment status, but do find an impact on the youngest children. Moreover, the project impact is clearer when the analysis considers treatment crossover using alternative estimators of two-stage least-squares and propensity score matching. The findings underscore the importance of addressing the shortcomings of large-scale randomization interventions in a systematic manner to guide further implementation of such projects, as well as to expose the true causal effect of such programs.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 96 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 106-114

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:96:y:2011:i:1:p:106-114

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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Keywords: Nutrition Impact evaluation;

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References

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  1. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1535-1558, December.
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  3. Alderman, Harold, 2007. "Improving Nutrition through Community Growth Promotion: Longitudinal Study of the Nutrition and Early Child Development Program in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1376-1389, August.
  4. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2004. "Long Term Consequences Of Early Childhood Malnutrition," HiCN Working Papers 09, Households in Conflict Network.
  5. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
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  7. King , Elizabeth M. & Behrman, Jere R., 2008. "Timing and duration of exposure in evaluations of social programs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4686, The World Bank.
  8. Guido W. Imbens, 2010. "Better LATE Than Nothing: Some Comments on Deaton (2009) and Heckman and Urzua (2009)," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 399-423, June.
  9. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2007. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," CEPR Discussion Papers 6059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Evaluating anti-poverty programs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3625, The World Bank.
  11. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2005. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions That Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1237-1258, September.
  12. Strauss, John, 1990. "Households, Communities, and Preschool Children's Nutrition Outcomes: Evidence from Rural Cote d'Ivoire," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 231-61, January.
  13. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
  14. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stephan Litschig & Marian Meller, 2012. "Saving lives: Evidence from a conditional food supplementation program," Economics Working Papers 1304, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2013.
  2. Ecker, Olivier & Mabiso, Athur & Kennedy, Adam & Diao, Xinshen 22905, 2011. "Making agriculture pro-nutrition: Opportunities in Tanzania," IFPRI discussion papers 1124, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Janet Currie & Tom Vogl, 2012. "Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries," Working Papers 1454, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  4. Emla Fitzsimons & Bansi Malde & Alice Mesnard & Marcos Vera-Hernandez, 2014. "Nutrition, information, and household behaviour: experimental evidence from Malawi," IFS Working Papers W14/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Marian Meller & Stephan Litschig, 2013. "Saving Lives: Evidence from a Conditional Food Supplementation Program," Working Papers 609, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  6. Álvarez, Begoña & Vera-Hernández, Marcos, 2013. "Exploiting subjective information to understand impoverished children's use of health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1194-1204.

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