Syndicate content

Add new comment

Fair enough, I totally agree that my post only establishes that they haven't been completely crowded out, and not what the counterfactual might be if RCTs didn't exist. In my comment on Esther's chapter for a book that is way too long forthcoming (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9C9RwWKZrUNbUY3Z3JSSUxyRk0/view) I build on her point where she shows that the number of development papers in top journals grew by the number of RCTs, so that the number of non-RCT development papers did not fall as RCTs started. I show that of out of the 454 development papers published in 14 journals in 2015 (top-5 + ReStat/AEJApp/EJ + JDE/EDCC/WBER/WD), only 44 are RCTs (9.7%). The consequence is that RCT-studies are only a small share of all development research taking place. Moreover, as my post notes, the bias towards studies on the U.S. in general interest journals suggests that the bigger factor might be that they crowd out all development work (RCT or not). That said, it is hard to know what the right counterfactual is to compare to.