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Showing posts from July, 2017

Shifting Gears: On RCTs and Beyond

The use of Randomized Control Trials to evaluate development policies has garnered significant attention in the last decade. In this article, authors Mridulya Narasimhan and Advitha Arun take a closer look at the strengths and pitfalls of RCTs, and the potential to integrate these with approaches such as rapid fire testing. Mridulya and Advitha are researchers with the MSME and Entrepreneurship vertical at IFMR LEAD. 
In addition to clinical biologists (and probably their assistants), every development-research enthusiast nowadays is fairly familiar with the term ‘Randomized Control Trials’ or RCTs, as they are fondly known. Since their inception in the early 2000s, RCTs have influenced research  in development economics, and consequently, careers of several aspiring economists or ‘randomistas’ (Ravallion, 2009).  Fast forward 17 years and today we ask ourselves the question ‘are RCTs the only way to measure and evaluate impact?’ or ‘are RCTs subject to availability bias?’. Although s…