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The gold standard for randomised evaluations: from discussion of method to political economics

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  • Florent Bédécarrats
  • Isabelle Guérin
  • François Roubaud

Abstract

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 the new school’s researchers and by specific interests and preferences in the academic world and the donor community.

Suggested Citation

  • Florent Bédécarrats & Isabelle Guérin & François Roubaud, 2015. "The gold standard for randomised evaluations: from discussion of method to political economics," Working Papers CEB 15-009, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/196617
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Labrousse, Agnès, 2010. "Nouvelle économie du développement et essais cliniques randomisés : une mise en perspective d’un outil de preuve et de gouvernement," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 7.
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    13. Florent Bédécarrats, 2012. "L'impact de la microfinance : un enjeu politique au prisme de ses controverses scientifiques," Mondes en développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(2), pages 127-142.
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    Cited by:

    1. Florent Bédécarrats & Isabelle Guérin & François Roubaud, 2019. "All that Glitters is not Gold. The Political Economy of Randomized Evaluations in Development," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 50(3), pages 735-762, May.
    2. Florent BEDECARRATS & Isabelle GUERIN & François ROUBAUD, 2017. "L'étalon-or des évaluations randomisées : économie politique des expérimentations aléatoires dans le domaine du développement," Working Paper 753120cd-506f-4c5f-80ed-7, Agence française de développement.
    3. Gloukoviezoff, Georges, 2016. "Evaluating the impact of European microfinance. The foundations," EIF Working Paper Series 2016/33, European Investment Fund (EIF).
    4. Naila Kabeer, 2016. "Gender Equality, Economic Growth, and Women's Agency: the "Endless Variety" and "Monotonous Similarity" of Patriarchal Constraints," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 295-321, January.
    5. Joana Silva Afonso, 2020. "Impact evaluation, social performance assessment and standardisation: reflections from microfinance evaluations in Pakistan and Zimbabwe," Working Papers in Economics & Finance 2020-14, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Business School, Economics and Finance Subject Group.
    6. Naila Kabeer, 2017. "Economic Pathways to Women’s Empowerment and Active Citizenship: What Does The Evidence From Bangladesh Tell Us?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(5), pages 649-663, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Impact evaluation; randomised control trial; experimental method; political economy; development;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • 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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