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Mechanism Experiments and Policy Evaluations

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  • Jens Ludwig
  • Jeffrey R. Kling
  • Sendhil Mullainathan

Abstract

Randomized controlled trials are increasingly used to evaluate policies. How can we make these experiments as useful as possible for policy purposes? We argue greater use should be made of experiments that identify behavioral mechanisms that are central to clearly specified policy questions, what we call “mechanism experiments.” These types of experiments can be of great policy value even if the intervention that is tested (or its setting) does not correspond exactly to any realistic policy option.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17062.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17062

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 142, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
  2. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn & J. Greg Duncan & Jeffrey R. Kling & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2004. "Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results From The Moving to Opportunity Experiment," Working Papers 871, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2008. "The Experimental Approach to Development Economics," NBER Working Papers 14467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2004. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John List & David Reiley, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
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  11. Angrist, Joshua D, 1990. "Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 313-36, June.
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  20. Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "Ex Ante Policy Evaluation, Structural Estimation and Model Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 48-52, May.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Not all cooking stoves are created equal: Contrasting results on improved cook stove programs in recent evaluations
    by Jed Friedman in Development Impact on 2012-06-13 12:59:07
  2. An incrementalist view of Impact Evaluation and knowledge
    by Jed Friedman in Development Impact on 2012-05-02 13:27:23
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Cited by:
  1. Michèle Belot (University of Edinburgh) and Jonathan James (University of Bath), 2013. "Partner Selection into Policy Relevant Field Experiments," ESE Discussion Papers 236, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  2. Dolan, P. & Hallsworth, M. & Halpern, D. & King, D. & Metcalfe, R. & Vlaev, I., 2012. "Influencing behaviour: The mindspace way," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 264-277.
  3. Woolcock, Michael, 2013. "Using case studies to explore the external validity of .complex. development interventions," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  4. Scarlato, Margherita, 2012. "Social Enterprise, Capabilities and Development: Lessons from Ecuador," MPRA Paper 37618, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Hunt Allcott, 2012. "Site Selection Bias in Program Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 18373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Steffen Altmann & Christian Traxler, 2012. "Nudges at the Dentist," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_15, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  7. Ferraro, Paul J. & Miranda, Juan José, 2013. "Heterogeneous treatment effects and mechanisms in information-based environmental policies: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 356-379.
  8. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Arjan Non & Willem Verbeke, 2010. "Dynamic Incentive Effects of Relative Performance Pay: A Field Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-124/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 27 Sep 2011.
  9. Wanjala, Bernadette M. & Muradian, Roldan, 2013. "Can Big Push Interventions Take Small-Scale Farmers out of Poverty? Insights from the Sauri Millennium Village in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 147-160.

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