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It‘s All About MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning ('e') to Crawl the Design Space

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Author Info

  • Lant Pritchett
  • Salimah Samji
  • Jeffrey Hammer

Abstract

Organizations that fund development projects whether they be governments, multi-laterals, bilateral agencies, or NGOs have to make hard decisions about what to fund. In this decision there is an inherent tension between funding activities that have solid evidence about effectiveness and funding innovative activities that promise even greater effectiveness but are untested. Evidence based approaches that promote greater use of Rigorous Impact Evaluations (including randomized control trials) and evidence from those evaluations in policy and programming have added more rigor to the E (evaluation) in traditional M&E. Here we extend the basic idea of rigorous impact evaluation—the use of a valid counter-factual to make judgments about causality to evaluate project design and implementation. This adds a new learning component of experiential learning or a little e to the M&RIE so that instead of just M&E development projects are all about MeE. Structured experiential learning allows implementing agencies to actively and rigorously search across alternative project designs using the monitoring data that provides real time performance information with direct feedback into project design and implementation. The key insight is that within- project variations can serve as their own counter-factual which dramatically reduces the incremental cost of evaluation and increases the usefulness of evaluation to implementing agencies. The right combination of MeE provides for rigorous learning while the providing needed space for innovation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1399.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:hammer_its_all_about_me

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Keywords: development; innovation; projects; funding;

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References

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  1. Robert Jensen, 2010. "The (Perceived) Returns to Education and the Demand for Schooling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 515-548, May.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2004. "Institutions As The Fundamental Cause Of Long-Run Growth," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 002889, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  3. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for private schooling in colombia: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00203, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Jessica Cohen & Pascaline Dupas, 2010. "Free Distribution or Cost-Sharing? Evidence from a Randomized Malaria Prevention Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 1-45, February.
  5. Lant Pritchett, 2002. "It pays to be ignorant: A simple political economy of rigorous program evaluation," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(4), pages 251-269.
  6. Hammer, Jeffrey S., 1996. "Economic analysis for health projects," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1611, The World Bank.
  7. Pritchett, Lant & Woolcock, Michael & Andrews, Matt, 2012. "Looking Like a State: Techniques of Persistent Failure in State Capability for Implementation," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  8. Andrews, Matt & Pritchett, Lant & Woolcock, Michael, 2013. "Escaping Capability Traps Through Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA)," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 234-244.
  9. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
  10. Joshua Angrist & Ivan Fernandez-Val, 2010. "ExtrapoLATE-ing: External Validity and Overidentification in the LATE Framework," NBER Working Papers 16566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Filmer, Deon, 2013. "Incentivizing schooling for learning : evidence on the impact of alternative targeting approaches," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6541, The World Bank.
  12. Hausmann, Ricardo, 2008. "The Other Hand: High Bandwidth Development Policy," Working Paper Series rwp08-060, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  13. Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2005. "Money for nothing : the dire straits of medical practice in Delhi, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3669, The World Bank.
  14. 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.
  15. Filmer, Deon & Hammer, Jeffrey S & Pritchett, Lant H, 2000. "Weak Links in the Chain: A Diagnosis of Health Policy in Poor Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 199-224, August.
  16. Rodrik, Dani, 2008. "The New Development Economics: We Shall Experiment, but How Shall We Learn?," Working Paper Series rwp08-055, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  17. Sanjeev Khagram & Craig Thomas & Catrina Lucero & Subarna Mathes, 2009. "Evidence for development effectiveness," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(3), pages 247-270.
  18. Abhijit Banerjee & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Daniel Keniston & Nina Singh, 2012. "Can Institutions be Reformed from Within? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment with the Rajasthan Police," NBER Working Papers 17912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Baird, Sarah & McIntosh, Craig & Ozler, Berk, 2009. "Designing cost-effective cash transfer programs to boost schooling among young women in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5090, The World Bank.
  20. Deon Filmer & Jeffrey S. Hammer & Lant H. Pritchett, 2002. "Weak Links in the Chain II: A Prescription for Health Policy in Poor Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 47-66.
  21. White, Howard, 2006. "Impact evaluation: the experience of the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank," MPRA Paper 1111, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. Ravallion, Martin, 2011. "On the implications of essential heterogeneity for estimating causal impacts using social experiments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5804, The World Bank.
  23. Ostrom, Elinor, 1996. "Crossing the great divide: Coproduction, synergy, and development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1073-1087, June.
  24. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Squire, Lyn & Suthiwart-Narueput, Sethaput, 1997. "Beyond Rate of Return: Reorienting Project Appraisal," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 35-46, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lant Pritchett, Justin Sandefur, 2013. "Context Matters for Size: Why External Validity Claims and Development Practice Don't Mix-Working Paper 336," Working Papers 336, Center for Global Development.
  2. 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).
  3. Jeffrey Hammer & Dean Spears, 2013. "Village sanitation externalities and children's human capital: Evidence from a randomized experiment by the Maharashtra government," Working Papers 1443, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  4. Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes, 2013. "The New Transparency in Development Economics: Lessons from the Millennium Villages Controversy," Working Papers 342, Center for Global Development.
  5. Hammer, Jeffrey & Spears, Dean, 2013. "Village sanitation and children's human capital : evidence from a randomized experiment by the Maharashtra government," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6580, The World Bank.

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