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Beyond baseline and follow-up: The case for more T in experiments

  • McKenzie, David

The vast majority of randomized experiments in economics rely on a single baseline and single follow-up survey. While such a design is suitable for study of highly autocorrelated and relatively precisely measured outcomes in the health and education domains, it is unlikely to be optimal for measuring noisy and relatively less autocorrelated outcomes such as business profits, and household incomes and expenditures. Taking multiple measurements of such outcomes at relatively short intervals allows one to average out noise, increasing power. When the outcomes have low autocorrelation and budget is limited, it can make sense to do no baseline at all. Moreover, I show how for such outcomes, more power can be achieved with multiple follow-ups than allocating the same total sample size over a single follow-up and baseline. I also highlight the large gains in power from ANCOVA analysis rather than difference-in-differences analysis when autocorrelations are low.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 99 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 210-221

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:99:y:2012:i:2:p:210-221
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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  2. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David J. & Woodruff, Christopher, 2009. "Measuring microenterprise profits: Must we ask how the sausage is made?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 19-31, January.
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  4. Nicholas Bloom & Benn Eifert & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2011. "Does Management Matter? Evidence from India," CEP Discussion Papers dp1042, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Miriam Bruhn, 2011. "License to Sell: The Effect of Business Registration Reform on Entrepreneurial Activity in Mexico," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 382-386, February.
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  7. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2010. "The development impact of a best practice seasonal worker policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5488, The World Bank.
  8. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Tristan Zajonc, 2011. "Do Value-Added Estimates Add Value? Accounting for Learning Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-54, July.
  9. Glewwe, Paul & Kremer, Michael & Moulin, Sylvie & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2004. "Retrospective vs. prospective analyses of school inputs: the case of flip charts in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 251-268, June.
  10. Esther Duflo & Abhijit Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Leigh Linden, 2006. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomised Experiments in India," Working Papers id:360, eSocialSciences.
  11. John Gibson & Bonggeun Kim, 2010. "Non-Classical Measurement Error in Long-Term Retrospective Recall Surveys," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 72(5), pages 687-695, October.
  12. John Gibson & Jikun Huang & Scott Rozelle, 2002. "Improving Estimates of Inequality and Poverty From Urban China’s Household Income and Expenditure Survey," Working Papers in Economics 02/01, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  13. Orley Ashenfelter & David Card, 1984. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," Working Papers 554, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  15. McKenzie, David J, 2004. "Aggregate Shocks and Urban Labor Market Responses: Evidence from Argentina's Financial Crisis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 719-58, July.
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  17. Bruhn, Miriam & McKenzie, David, 2008. "In pursuit of balance : randomization in practice in development field experiments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4752, The World Bank.
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  19. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
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  22. Fafchamps, Marcel & McKenzie, David & Quinn, Simon & Woodruff, Christopher, 2014. "Microenterprise growth and the flypaper effect: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 211-226.
  23. Zwane, A. P. & Zinman, J. & Van Dusen, E. & Pariente, W. & Null, C. & Miguel, E. & Kremer, Michael R. & Karlan, D. S. & Hornbeck, Richard A. & Gine, X. & Duflo, E. & Devoto, F. & Crepon, B. & Banerjee, 2011. "Being Surveyed Can Change Later Behavior and Related Parameter Estimates," Scholarly Articles 11339433, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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