Contextualizing RCTs

Rachel Strohm

The World Bank’s Development Impact blog had two great posts recently which touched on the idea of contextualizing RCTs.  David McKenzie, writing about clinical equipose in RCTs, says that it would be useful to do more experiments on targeting interventions, to understand how targeting needs might differ across countries.  And both he and Eva Vivalt are concerned that impact evaluations rarely include the costs of the intervention in published materials, or, better yet, compare the intervention to a cash transfer of equivalent value.  Development agencies who hope to implement a “proven” intervention will have more difficulty doing so if they can’t learn about the costs of implementation.  (I think this is why Ted Miguel & Michael Kremer’s paper on school-based deworming has gained so many eager implementers: they included a persuasive cost-benefit analysis.  Of course, it helps that deworming is very cheap in the first place.)

I would…

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