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The New Transparency in Development Economics: Lessons from the Millennium Villages Controversy

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  • Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes

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Abstract

The Millennium Villages Project is a high profile, multi-country development project that has aimed to serve as a model for ending rural poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The project became the subject of controversy when the methodological basis of early claims of success was questioned. The lively ensuing debate offers lessons on three recent mini-revolutions that have swept the field of development economics: the rising standards of evidence for measuring impact, the “open data” movement, and the growing role of the blogosphere in research debates. In this paper, Michael Clemens and Gabriel Demombynes discuss how a new transparency is changing the debate about what works.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Clemens, Gabriel Demombynes, 2013. "The New Transparency in Development Economics: Lessons from the Millennium Villages Controversy," Working Papers 342, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:342
    as

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    File URL: http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/Clemens-Demombynes-new-transparency_2.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Instruments, Randomization, and Learning about Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 424-455, June.
    2. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1995. "Assessing the Case for Social Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 85-110, Spring.
    3. Edoardo Masset & Arnab Acharya & Chris Barnett & Tony Dogbe, 2013. "An impact evaluation design for the Millennium Villages Project in Northern Ghana," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 137-157, June.
    4. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_instruments_randomization_learning_all_04april_2010 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Pritchett, Lant & Samji, Salimah & Hammer, Jeffrey S., 2012. "It's All about MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning ('e') to Crawl the Design Space," WIDER Working Paper Series 104, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Michael A. Clemens & Gabriel Demombynes, 2011. "When does rigorous impact evaluation make a difference? The case of the Millennium Villages," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 305-339, September.
    7. William Easterly, 2009. "Can the West Save Africa?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 373-447.
    8. Demombynes, Gabriel & Trommlerova, Sofia Karina, 2012. "What has driven the decline of infant mortality in Kenya ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6057, The World Bank.
    9. Lant Pritchett & Salimah Samji & Jeffrey Hammer, 2013. "It‘s All About MeE: Using Structured Experiential Learning (“e”) to Crawl the Design Space," Working Papers 322, Center for Global Development.
    10. Paul J. Gertler & Sebastian Martinez & Patrick Premand & Laura B. Rawlings & Christel M. J. Vermeersch, 2011. "Impact Evaluation in Practice, First Edition
      [La evaluación de impacto en la práctica]
      ," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2550.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Millennium Villages Project; impact evaluation; transparency; open data;

    JEL classification:

    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis

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