Tag: RCTs

 

Can Outsourcing Improve Liberia's Schools? Preliminary RCT Results

Blog Post

Last summer, the Liberian government delegated management of 93 public elementary schools to eight different private contractors. Given the intense controversy around the program, the government—with some encouragement from our colleagues at Ark Education Partnership Group, who helped manage the program—agreed to randomize the allocation of schools during the pilot, and the three of us partnered with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) to evaluate its impacts.

Publications

After one year, public schools managed by private contractors in Liberia raised student learning by 60 percent, compared to standard public schools.

Publications

After one year, public schools managed by private operators raised student learning by 60 percent compared to standard public schools. But costs were high, performance varied across operators, and contracts authorized the largest operator to push excess pupils and under-performing teachers into other government schools.

Will an RCT Change Anyone’s Mind? Should It?

Blog Post
We respond to critics of our evaluation of Liberia’s “partnership” school program, distinguishing legitimate concerns about the charter-style program itself—which can be turned into testable hypotheses—from methodological limitations to what an impact evaluation can show.
Publications

Motivated by our experience in designing a particular social program, skill set signaling for new entrants to the labor market in Peru, we articulate the need for, and explore the empirical consequences of, alternative learning approaches to the design of development projects. We suggest that project, program, and policy design must depend on more robust learning strategies than the attempt to directly apply results from ”systematic reviews” or move prematurely to an RCT.

Using “Random” Right: New Insights from IDinsight Team

Blog Post

The unfolding of “thesis, antithesis, synthesis” about the use of randomized control trials (RCTs) as a tool in improving development policies and practices has reached the “synthesis” stage.  A new paper in the 3ie working paper series “Evaluations with Impact” by Shah, Wang, Fraker and Gastfriend (hereafter IDinsight team and, full disclosure, three of which were students of mine) (2015) does an excellent job both in laying out the debate and in articulating a newly emerging conv

Mapping the Worm Wars: What the Public Should Take Away from the Scientific Debate about Mass Deworming

Blog Post

It was a big deal when various media outlets declared last week that the evidence to support mass deworming had been “debunked.” The debate now is not about whether children sick with worms should get treated (everyone says yes), but whether the mass treatment of all kids — including those not known to be infected — is a cost-effective way to raise school attendance. The healthiest parts of the debate have been about the need for transparency, data sharing, and more replication in science. Here, we’re going to focus here on the narrower question of the evidence for mass deworming specifically, which is where some journalists have gotten things quite wrong. 

The Final Word on Microcredit?

Blog Post

Two influential movements within the development industry collided head-on this month: the microcredit movement and the movement to subject development policies to rigorous impact evaluation.

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