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The gold standard for randomized evaluations: from discussion of method to political economy

Author

Listed:
  • Florent Bédécarrats

    () (AFD Paris, France)

  • Isabelle Guérin

    () (IRD CESSMA)

  • François Roubaud

    () (IRD, UMR DIAL, PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine)

Abstract

(english) This last decade has seen the emergence of a new field of research in development economics: randomised control trials. This paper explores the contrast between the (many) limitations and (very narrow) real scope of these methods and their success in sheer number and media coverage. Our analysis suggests that the paradox is due to a particular economic and political mix driven by the innovative strategies used by this new school’s researchers and by specific interests and preferences in the academic world and the donor community. _________________________________ (français) La dernière décennie a vu l'émergence d'un nouveau champ de recherche en économie du développement : les méthodes expérimentales d'évaluation d'impacts par assignation aléatoire. Cet article explore le contraste entre d’une part les limites (nombreuses) et la circonscription (très étroite) du champ réel d'application de ces méthodes et d’autre part leur succès, attesté à la fois par leur nombre et leur forte médiatisation. L’analyse suggère que ce contraste est le fruit d’une conjonction économique et politique particulière, émanant de stratégies novatrices de la part des chercheurs de cette nouvelle école, et d’intérêts et de préférences spécifiques provenant à la fois du monde académique et de la communauté des donateurs.

Suggested Citation

  • Florent Bédécarrats & Isabelle Guérin & François Roubaud, 2015. "The gold standard for randomized evaluations: from discussion of method to political economy," Working Papers DT/2015/01, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201501
    as

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    File URL: http://www.dial.ird.fr/media/ird-sites-d-unites-de-recherche/dial/documents/publications/doc_travail/2015/2015-01
    File Function: First version, 2015
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Impact evaluation; Randomized control trial; Experimental method; Methodology; Political economy; Development; Evaluation d'impact; méthode expérimentale; Essai randomisé; Méthodologie; Economie politique; Développement.;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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