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Low-Cost Randomized Controlled Trials in Education


  • Nathan Wozny
  • Cary Balser
  • Drew Ives


Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are widely accepted as the gold standard in program evaluation but are uncommon in educational research. A likely explanation is that experiments designed with sufficient statistical precision to detect meaningful impacts of educational interventions generally require resources unobtainable for most studies. This paper proposes an alternative RCT design, where treatment status varies by lesson. We show that this design plausibly enables the precise estimation of causal impacts of a broad class of educational interventions with modest resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathan Wozny & Cary Balser & Drew Ives, 2018. "Low-Cost Randomized Controlled Trials in Education," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 108, pages 307-311, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:apandp:v:108:y:2018:p:307-11
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20181054

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    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions


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