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In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments

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  • Miriam Bruhn
  • David McKenzie

Abstract

We present new evidence on the randomization methods used in existing experiments, and new simulations comparing these methods. We find that many papers do not describe the randomization in detail, implying that better reporting is needed. Our simulations suggest that in samples of 300 or more, the different methods perform similarly. However, for very persistent outcome variables, and in smaller samples, pair-wise matching and stratification perform best and appear to dominate the rerandomization methods commonly used in practice. The simulations also point to specific recommendations for which variables to balance on, and for which controls to include in the ex post analysis. (JEL C83, C93, O12)

Suggested Citation

  • Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2009. "In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 200-232, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:200-232
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.4.200
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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