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The New Transparency in Development Economics: Lessons from the Millennium Villages Controversy

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  • Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes

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Abstract

The Millennium Villages Project is a high profile, multi-country development project that has aimed to serve as a model for ending rural poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The project became the subject of controversy when the methodological basis of early claims of success was questioned. The lively ensuing debate offers lessons on three recent mini-revolutions that have swept the field of development economics: the rising standards of evidence for measuring impact, the “open data” movement, and the growing role of the blogosphere in research debates. In this paper, Michael Clemens and Gabriel Demombynes discuss how a new transparency is changing the debate about what works.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 342.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:342

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Web page: http://www.cgdev.org

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Keywords: Millennium Villages Project; impact evaluation; transparency; open data;

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  1. Lant Pritchett & Salimah Samji & Jeffrey Hammer, 2012. "It‘s All About MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning ('e') to Crawl the Design Space," Working Papers 1399, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  2. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Instruments, randomization, and learning about development," Working Papers 1224, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  3. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1995. "Assessing the Case for Social Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 85-110, Spring.
  4. Michael A. Clemens & Gabriel Demombynes, 2011. "When does rigorous impact evaluation make a difference? The case of the Millennium Villages," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 305-339, September.
  5. Edoardo Masset & Arnab Acharya & Chris Barnett & Tony Dogbe, 2013. "An impact evaluation design for the Millennium Villages Project in Northern Ghana," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 137-157, June.
  6. Paul J. Gertler & Sebastian Martinez & Patrick Premand & Laura B. Rawlings & Christel M. J. Vermeersch, 2011. "Impact Evaluation in Practice," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2550, July.
  7. Demombynes, Gabriel & Trommlerova, Sofia Karina, 2012. "What has driven the decline of infant mortality in Kenya ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6057, The World Bank.
  8. Tessa Bold & Mwangi Kimenyi & Germano Mwabu & Alice Ng'ang'a & Justin Sandefur, 2013. "Scaling-up What Works: Experimental Evidence on External Validity in Kenyan Education," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  9. William Easterly, 2009. "Can the West Save Africa?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 373-447, June.
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