With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been used to demonstrate the effectiveness of development interventions from cash transfers to tutoring. They are one of many tools used to evaluate policies, products, and services around the world.
Last month, I was on my way to speak at an IDB sponsored conference on evaluation. Getting on the shuttle to DC I bumped into a friend of mine who is the head of a technology related company. On the plane I was telling him I was on my way to talk about the fad of doing RCTs in my field of development. He told me he had a great slide from the tech consulting company Gartner about the “Hype Cycle” in tech industries. As you see, this wonderful graphic shows a typical cycle of a tech idea or tech
I am a big admirer of Nick Kristof, of the passion and concern that animate his books and columns, and of the must-do-can-do spirit that they embody. But sometimes his soft heart gets ahead of the hard head, leading to misleading and intellectually insupportable advocacy of foreign aid. A good example is today’s column.
Our former postdoc Chris Blattman has terrific advice for aspiring graduate students wondering if they should get into the business (via a Ph.D) of impact evaluation via randomized controlled trials (RCTs) -- RCTs have apparently become all the rage. For development aficionados an RCT-based Ph.D. has many benefits: field work in exotic settings, a rationale for doing applied empirical work while also being visibly rigorous and scientific (!) and apparently, a straightforward path to a journal publication.