Holding back from theory : Limits and methodological alternatives of randomized field experiments in development economics

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dc.contributor.author Favereau, Judith
dc.contributor.author Nagatsu, Michiru
dc.date.accessioned 2022-02-18T14:51:03Z
dc.date.available 2022-02-18T14:51:03Z
dc.date.issued 2020-07-02
dc.identifier.citation Favereau , J & Nagatsu , M 2020 , ' Holding back from theory : Limits and methodological alternatives of randomized field experiments in development economics ' , Journal of Economic Methodology , vol. 27 , no. 3 , pp. 191-211 . https://doi.org/10.1080/1350178X.2020.1717585
dc.identifier.other PURE: 58628383
dc.identifier.other PURE UUID: 26639b5b-e259-49a6-ae5e-c48840cdaffa
dc.identifier.other WOS: 000511628000001
dc.identifier.other Scopus: 85078429984
dc.identifier.other ORCID: /0000-0001-6566-0307/work/108464560
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10138/340646
dc.description.abstract In this paper, we critically and constructively examine the methodology of evidence-based development economics, which deploys randomized field experiments (RFEs) as its main tool. We describe the context in which this movement started, and illustrate in detail how RFEs are designed and implemented in practice, drawing on a series of experiments by Pascaline Dupas and her colleagues on the use of bednets, saving and governance in Kenya. We show that this line of experiments have evolved to address the limitation of obtaining policy-relevant insights from RFEs alone, characterized as their lack of external validity in the literature. After examining the two prominent responses by leading figures of evidence-based development economics, namely machine learning and structured speculation, we propose an alternative methodological strategy that incorporates two sub-fields, namely experimental economics and behavioral economics, to complement RFEs in investigating the data-generating process underlying the treatment effects of RFEs. This strategy highlights promising methodological developments in RFEs neither captured by the two proposals nor recognized by methodologists, and also guides how to combine different sub-fields of economics. en
dc.format.extent 21
dc.language.iso eng
dc.relation.ispartof Journal of Economic Methodology
dc.rights.uri info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.subject DECISION
dc.subject HEALTH
dc.subject IMPACT
dc.subject KENYA
dc.subject LAB
dc.subject POOR
dc.subject Randomized field experiments
dc.subject SUBSIDIES
dc.subject VALIDITY
dc.subject behavioral economics
dc.subject development economics
dc.subject experimental economics
dc.subject external validity
dc.subject randomized controled trials
dc.subject 512 Business and Management
dc.title Holding back from theory : Limits and methodological alternatives of randomized field experiments in development economics en
dc.type Article
dc.contributor.organization Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
dc.contributor.organization TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science
dc.contributor.organization Practical Philosophy
dc.description.reviewstatus Peer reviewed
dc.relation.doi https://doi.org/10.1080/1350178X.2020.1717585
dc.relation.issn 1350-178X
dc.rights.accesslevel openAccess
dc.type.version draft
dc.relation.funder Unknown funder
dc.relation.grantnumber

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