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

  • Miriam Bruhn
  • David McKenzie

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)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 200-232

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:200-232
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.4.200
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  10. Marianne Bertrand & Rema Hanna & Sendhil Mullainathan & Simeon Djankov, 2006. "Does corruption produce unsafe drivers?," Natural Field Experiments 00218, The Field Experiments Website.
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