Tag: RCTs

Naila Kabeer on Why Randomized Controlled Trials need to include Human Agency

Guest post and 20m interview with Naila Kabeer on her new paper There’s a buzz abroad in the development community around a new way to tackle extreme poverty. BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) programme combines asset transfers (usually livestock), cash stipends and intensive mentoring to women and families in extreme poverty in order to […]

Read More »

How did the Randomistas get so good at influencing Policy?

I’m a critic of the degree of overselling of randomized control trials (RCTs), but there’s no denying that the randomistas have been phenomenally successful snake oil salesmen and women, persuading large chunks of Big Aid to adopt their approach to what constitutes evidence and truthiness. If you want to learn how they did it, try […]

Read More »

The evidence debate continues: Chris Whitty and Stefan Dercon respond from DFID

Yesterday Chris Roche and Rosalind Eyben set out their concerns over the results agenda. Today Chris Whitty (left), DFID’s Director of Research and Evidence and Chief Scientific Adviser and Stefan Dercon (right), its Chief Economist, respond. It is common ground that “No-one really believes that it is feasible for external development assistance to consist purely of […]

Read More »

The political implications of evidence-based approaches (aka start of this week’s wonkwar on the results agenda)

The political implications of evidence-based approaches The debate on evidence and results continues to rage. Rosalind Eyben and Chris Roche, two of the organiser’s of next April’s Big Push Forward conference on the Politics of  Evidence, kick off a discussion. Tomorrow Chris Whitty, DFID’s Director of Research and Evidence and Chief Scientific Adviser, and Stefan […]

Read More »

Lant Pritchett v the Randomistas on the nature of evidence – is a wonkwar brewing?

Last week I had a lot conversations about evidence. First, one of the periodic retreats of Oxfam senior managers reviewed our work on livelihoods, humanitarian partnership and gender rights. The talk combined some quantitative work (for example the findings of our new ‘effectiveness reviews’), case studies, and the accumulated wisdom of our big cheeses. But […]

Read More »

Poor Economics – a rich new book from Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Just finished Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, the latest Big Book on development. Like all good books, it has its own website, full of background papers etc. It’s from the doyennes of the new focus on measurement in general and randomized control trials (RCTs) in particular, Abhijit Banerjee […]

Read More »

Randomized Controlled Trials: panacea or mirage?

Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) are all the rage among development wonks at the moment. Imported from medical research, they offer the tantalizing allure to social scientists of finally overcoming the Achilles’ heel of real-world research – the counterfactual (aka ‘how do we know what would have happened if we hadn’t lobbied the government/ employed the […]

Read More »