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Randomized Control Trials in the Field of DevelopmentA Critical Perspective$
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Florent Bédécarrats, Isabelle Guérin, and François Roubaud

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198865360

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198865360.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

Epilogue: Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation Revisited

Epilogue: Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation Revisited

(p.304) 12 Epilogue: Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation Revisited
Randomized Control Trials in the Field of Development

James J. Heckman

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the case for randomized controlled trials in economics. It revisits the author’s previous paper “Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation” and updates its message. The chapter presents a brief summary of the history of randomization in economics. It identifies two waves of enthusiasm for the method as “Two Awakenings” because of the near-religious zeal associated with each wave. The First Wave substantially contributed to the development of microeconometrics because of the awed nature of the experimental evidence. The Second Wave has improved experimental designs to avoid some of the technical statistical issues identified by econometricians in the wake of the First Wave. However, the deep conceptual issues about parameters estimated, and the economic interpretation and the policy relevance of the experimental results have not been addressed in the Second Wave.

Keywords:   field experiments, randomized control trials, dogma, faith, methodology

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