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Beyond baseline and follow-up: The case for more T in experiments

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  • McKenzie, David

Abstract

The vast majority of randomized experiments in economics rely on a single baseline and single follow-up survey. While such a design is suitable for study of highly autocorrelated and relatively precisely measured outcomes in the health and education domains, it is unlikely to be optimal for measuring noisy and relatively less autocorrelated outcomes such as business profits, and household incomes and expenditures. Taking multiple measurements of such outcomes at relatively short intervals allows one to average out noise, increasing power. When the outcomes have low autocorrelation and budget is limited, it can make sense to do no baseline at all. Moreover, I show how for such outcomes, more power can be achieved with multiple follow-ups than allocating the same total sample size over a single follow-up and baseline. I also highlight the large gains in power from ANCOVA analysis rather than difference-in-differences analysis when autocorrelations are low.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 99 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 210-221

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:99:y:2012:i:2:p:210-221

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

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Keywords: Randomized experiments; Multiple measurements; Program evaluation;

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References

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  1. Fafchamps, Marcel; McKenzie; Quinn, Simon; Woodruff, Christopher, 2011. "When is capital enough to get female microenterprises growing? Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 50, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  2. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
  3. Nick Bloom & Ben Eifert & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2010. "Does management matter?: evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36366, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2934, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Martin Valdivia & Dean Karlan, 2006. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," Working Papers 941, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  6. Marcel Fafchamps & David McKenzie & Simon Quinn & Christopher Woodruff, 2010. "Using PDA consistency checks to increase the precision of profits and sales measurement in panels," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-19, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  7. Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Zajonc, Tristan, 2009. "Do value-added estimates add value ? accounting for learning dynamics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5066, The World Bank.
  8. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila," CEPR Discussion Papers 7396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Michael Woolcock, 2009. "Towards a Plurality of Methods in Project Evaluation: A Contextualised Approach to Understanding Impact Trajectories and Efficacy," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 7309, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  10. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264, 08.
  11. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David J. & Woodruff, Christopher, 2009. "Measuring microenterprise profits: Must we ask how the sausage is made?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 19-31, January.
  12. Orley Ashenfelter & David Card, 1984. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 1489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John Gibson & Jikun Huang & Scott Rozelle, 2002. "Improving Estimates of Inequality and Poverty From Urban China’s Household Income and Expenditure Survey," Working Papers in Economics 02/01, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  14. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  15. John Gibson & Bonggeun Kim, 2010. "Non-Classical Measurement Error in Long-Term Retrospective Recall Surveys," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 72(5), pages 687-695, October.
  16. Paul Glewwe & Michael Kremer & Sylvie Moulin & Eric Zitzewitz, 2004. "Retrospective vs. prospective analyses of school inputs: The case of flip charts in kenya," Natural Field Experiments 00256, The Field Experiments Website.
  17. Das, Jishnu & Dercon, Stefan & Habyarimana, James & Krishnan, Pramila, 2005. "Teacher shocks and student learning : evidence from Zambia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3602, The World Bank.
  18. Bruhn, Miriam, 2008. "License to sell : the effect of business registration reform on entrepreneurial activity in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4538, The World Bank.
  19. Bruhn, Miriam & McKenzie, David, 2008. "In pursuit of balance : randomization in practice in development field experiments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4752, The World Bank.
  20. McKenzie, David J, 2004. "Aggregate Shocks and Urban Labor Market Responses: Evidence from Argentina's Financial Crisis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 719-58, July.
  21. Zwane, A. P. & Zinman, J. & Van Dusen, E. & Pariente, W. & Null, C. & Miguel, E. & Kremer, Michael R. & Karlan, D. S. & Hornbeck, Richard A. & Gine, X. & Duflo, E. & Devoto, F. & Crepon, B. & Banerjee, 2011. "Being Surveyed Can Change Later Behavior and Related Parameter Estimates," Scholarly Articles 11339433, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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