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Almost Random: Evaluating a Large-Scale Randomized Nutrition Program in the Presence of Crossover

  • Linnemayr, Sebastian

    ()

    (Harvard University)

  • Alderman, Harold

    ()

    (The World Bank)

Large-scale randomized interventions have the potential to uncover the causal effect of programs applying to a large population, thereby improving on the insights gained from currently dominant smaller randomized studies. However, the external validity gained through larger interventions typically implies less supervision and often comes at the cost of some deviation from the randomization plan. This paper investigates the impact of the Nutrition Enhancement Program, which aims to improve child nutrition in Senegal based on a large-scale randomized community intervention. The analysis explicitly deals with deviation from the planned treatment and suggests approaches for combining ex-post adjustments such as propensity score matching with the randomized treatment plan. The authors do not detect a strong overall program impact on the outcome measure of weight-for-age based on planned treatment status, but do find an impact on the youngest children. Moreover, the project impact is clearer when the analysis considers treatment crossover using alternative estimators of two-stage least-squares and propensity score matching. The findings underscore the importance of addressing the shortcomings of large-scale randomization interventions in a systematic manner in order to understand the selection process that can guide further implementation of such projects, as well as to expose the true, causal effect of such programs.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4784.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4784
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  1. Kenneth Y. Chay & Patrick J. McEwan & Miguel Urquiola, 2003. "The Central Role of Noise in Evaluating Interventions that Use Test Scores to Rank Schools," NBER Working Papers 10118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics," Working papers 98-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
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  7. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND briefs 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Elizabeth King & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Joshua Angrist & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for private schooling in colombia: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00203, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Guido W. Imbens, 2009. "Better LATE Than Nothing: Some Comments on Deaton (2009) and Heckman and Urzua (2009)," NBER Working Papers 14896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2007. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," CEPR Discussion Papers 6059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Strauss, John, 1990. "Households, Communities, and Preschool Children's Nutrition Outcomes: Evidence from Rural Cote d'Ivoire," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 231-61, January.
  13. Susan Horton & Meera Shekar & Christine McDonald & Ajay Mahal & Jana Krystene Brooks, 2010. "Scaling Up Nutrition : What Will it Cost?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2685.
  14. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
  15. Guido Imbens, 2000. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1166, Econometric Society.
  16. King , Elizabeth M. & Behrman, Jere R., 2008. "Timing and duration of exposure in evaluations of social programs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4686, The World Bank.
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