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Almost Random: Evaluating a Large-Scale Randomized Nutrition Program in the Presence of Crossover

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  • Linnemayr, Sebastian

    ()
    (Harvard University)

  • Alderman, Harold

    ()
    (The World Bank)

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 implies less supervision and often comes at the cost of some deviation from the randomization plan. This paper investigates the impact of the Nutrition Enhancement Program, which aims to improve child nutrition in Senegal based on a large-scale randomized community intervention. The analysis explicitly 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 in order to understand the selection process that can guide further implementation of such projects, as well as to expose the true, causal effect of such programs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4784.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4784

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Keywords: Nutrition; Impact evaluation;

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References

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  1. Guido Imbens, 2000. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1166, Econometric Society.
  2. 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.
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  4. Ravallion, Martin, 2008. "Evaluating Anti-Poverty Programs," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
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  8. Behrman, Jere R. & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2004. "Correlates and determinants of child anthropometrics in Latin America: background and overview of the symposium," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 335-351, December.
  9. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  10. 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.
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  12. 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.
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  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  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," NBER Working Papers 18371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  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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