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Title:Cairo evaluation clinic: Thoughts on randomized trials for evaluation of development PDF Logo
Authors:Karlan, Dean
Issue Date:2009
Series/Report no.:Center Discussion Paper, Economic Growth Center 973
Abstract:We were asked to discuss specific methodological approaches to evaluating three hypothetical interventions. This article uses this forum to discuss three misperceptions about randomized trials. First, nobody argues that randomized trials are appropriate in all settings, and for all questions. Everyone agrees that asking the right question is the highest priority. Second, the decision about what to measure and how to measure it, i.e., through qualitative or participatory methods versus quantitative survey or administrative data methods, is independent of the decision about whether to conduct a randomized trial. Third, randomized trials can be used to evaluate complex and dynamic processes, not just simple and static interventions. Evaluators should aim to answer the most important questions for future decisions, and to do so as reliably as possible. Reliability is improved with randomized trials, when feasible, and with attention to underlying theory and tests of why interventions work or fail so that lessons can be transferred as best as possible to other settings.
Subjects:program evaluation
randomized control trial
JEL:B41
O12
H43
J08
H54
D73
D12
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:Center Discussion Papers, Economic Growth Center (EGC), Yale University

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