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R. Barker Bausell's "Snake Oil Science" has a great discussion of the various things that get lumped together as "placebo effects" ( In his categorization, almost nothing in a development impact evaluation would be a placebo effect, since that is specifically an endo-opioid production response within the brain. Also, despite the title I thought Bausell was very fair in his analysis of alternative medicine, although that doesn't help any of the treatments he looks at beat placebos in double-blind studies.