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Walking the talk: the need for a trial registry for development interventions


  • Ole Dahl Rasmussen
  • Nikolaj Malchow-Møller
  • Thomas Barnebeck Andersen


Recent advances in the use of randomised control trials to evaluate the effect of development interventions promise to enhance our knowledge of what works and why. A core argument supporting randomised studies is the claim that they have high internal validity. The authors argue that this claim is weak as long as a trial registry of development interventions is not in place. Without a trial registry, the possibilities for data mining, created by analyses of multiple outcomes and subgroups, undermine internal validity. Drawing on experience from evidence-based medicine and recent examples from microfinance, they argue that a trial registry would also enhance external validity and foster innovative research.

Suggested Citation

  • Ole Dahl Rasmussen & Nikolaj Malchow-Møller & Thomas Barnebeck Andersen, 2011. "Walking the talk: the need for a trial registry for development interventions," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(4), pages 502-519, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevef:v:3:y:2011:i:4:p:502-519 DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2011.605160

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Woolcock, 2009. "Toward a plurality of methods in project evaluation: a contextualised approach to understanding impact trajectories and efficacy," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 1-14.
    2. 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.
    3. Kibaara, Betty & Ariga, Joshua & Olwande, John & Jayne, Thom S., 2008. "Trends in Kenyan Agricultural Productivity: 1997-2007," Working Papers 202611, Egerton University, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ksoll, Christopher & Lilleør, Helene Bie & Lønborg, Jonas Helth & Rasmussen, Ole Dahl, 2016. "Impact of Village Savings and Loan Associations: Evidence from a cluster randomized trial," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 70-85.
    2. Campos, Francisco & Coville, Aidan & Fernandes, Ana M. & Goldstein, Markus & McKenzie, David, 2014. "Learning from the experiments that never happened: Lessons from trying to conduct randomized evaluations of matching grant programs in Africa," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 4-24.

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