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In October 2019, Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer jointly won the 51st Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty." But what is the exact scope of their experimental method, known as randomized control trials (RCTs)? Which sorts of questions are RCTs able to address and which do they fail to answer? The first of its kind, Randomized Control Trials in the Field of Development: A Critical Perspective provides answers to these questions, explaining how RCTs work, what they can achieve, why they sometimes fail, how they can be improved and why other methods are both useful and necessary. Bringing together leading specialists in the field from a range of backgrounds and disciplines (economics, econometrics, mathematics, statistics, political economy, socioeconomics, anthropology, philosophy, global health, epidemiology, and medicine), it presents a full and coherent picture of the main strengths and weaknesses of RCTs in the field of development. Looking beyond the epistemological, political, and ethical differences underlying many of the disagreements surrounding RCTs, it explores the implementation of RCTs on the ground, outside of their ideal theoretical conditions and reveals some unsuspected uses and effects, their disruptive potential, but also their political uses. The contributions uncover the implicit worldview that many RCTs draw on and disseminate, and probe the gap between the method's narrow scope and its success, while also proposing improvements and alternatives.

Without disputing the contribution of RCTs to scientific knowledge, Randomized Control Trials in the Field of Development warns against the potential dangers of their excessive use, arguing that the best use for RCTs is not necessarily that which immediately springs to mind. Written in plain language, this book offers experts and laypeople alike a unique opportunity to come to an informed and reasoned judgement on RCTs and what they can bring to development.


Editeur : IRD Éditions

Collection : Hors collection

Publication : 17 septembre 2020

Intérieur : Noir & blanc

Support(s) : eBook [PDF]

Contenu(s) : PDF

Protection(s) : Marquage social (PDF)

Taille(s) : 4,6 Mo (PDF)

Langue(s) : Français

EAN13 eBook [PDF] : 9780198865360


- Editors’ Introduction: Controversies around RCT in Development : Epistemology, Ethics, and Politics 

- Introduction: Randomization in the Tropics Revisited, a Theme and Eleven Variations 

1. Should the Randomistas (Continue to) Rule ? 

2. Randomizing Development: Method or Madness ? 

3. The Disruptive Power of RCTs 

4. RCTs in Development Economics, Their Critics and Their Evolution 

5. Reducing the Knowledge Gap in Global Health Delivery : Contributions and Limitations of Randomized Controlled Trials 

6. Trials and Tribulations: The Rise and Fall of the RCT in the WASH Sector 

7. Microfinance RCTs in Development: Miracle or Mirage ? 

8. The Rhetorical Superiority of Poor Economics 

9. Are the “Randomistas” Evaluators ? 

10. Ethics of RCTs: Should Economists Care about Equipoise ? 

11. Using Priors in Experimental Design: How Much Are We Leaving on the Table ? 

12. Epilogue : Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation Revisited 


eBook [PDF]


  • Florent Bédécarrats (Coordination éditoriale de)

    Florent Bédécarrats est chercheur à l'IRD et membre de l'UMI Source, où il oc­cupe une chaire de professeur junior sur I' évaluation des politiques d'adaptation au changement climatique.

  • Isabelle Guérin (Coordination éditoriale de)

    Isabelle Guérin est socio-économiste, directrice de recherche à l'IRD, membre de l'UMR Cessma et chercheure affiliée à l'Institut français de Pondichéry. 

  • François Roubaud (Coordination éditoriale de)

    François Roubaud est économiste et statisticien, directeur de recherche à l’IRD et membre de l’UMR DIAL, dont il a été le directeur entre 2000 et 2003. Il est diplômé de l’ENSAE et docteur en économie (université Paris Nanterre). Il est l’auteur de Identités et transition démographique : l’exception malgache ? (L’Harmattan/Tsipika, 2000), et Madagascar face au défi des objectifs du millénaire pour le développement (coéditeur, IRD, 2010).

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