Published on Development Impact

Weekly links March 13: Soap Operas, New Data Access, Daylight Saving and Goofing Off, and more…

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  • Debate on the role of RCTs for global public health in the journal “Global Health: Science and Practice”. The editor argues that RCTs have limited utility for public health and claims that  “Trying to apply the laser-like RCT approach is akin to trying to light up a football stadium with a slowly moving laser pointer—very precise, rigorous, and artificially intense but not very illuminating.”. Laurel Hatt and co-authors offer a rebuttal, arguing that RCTs and other rigorous impact evaluation methods have a critical role to play in public health noting “it is still incumbent on global public health practitioners to answer definitively the question, “Does it work?” before asking, “How can it be made to work practicably at scale?” Programs that are assumed to work are sometimes shown—by random assignment—not to work”
  • Good data gone bad – Cherokee Gothic on Justin Sandefur and Amanda Glassman’s work on the political economy of bad data in Africa.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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