This is a curated list of our technical postings, to serve as a one-stop shop for your technical reading. I’ve focused here on our posts on methodological issues in impact evaluation – we also have a whole lot of posts on how to conduct surveys and measure certain concepts curated here. It is currently updated up to July 20, 2021.
IEanalytics: introducing the Development Impact Evaluation wiki
Allocating treatment and control with multiple applications per applicant and ranked choices
Is optimization just re-randomization redux? Thoughts on the "don't randomize, optimize" papers
Be an optimista, not a randomista, when you have small samples
Tips for randomization in the wild: adding a waitlist
How to randomize in the field
Stratified randomization and the FIFA world cup
Doing stratified randomization with uneven numbers in the Strata
How to randomize using many baseline variables
Public randomization ceremonies
Designing experiments to measure spillover effects
Mechanism experiments and opening up the black box
Sample weights and RCT design
Response to the policymaker complaint that randomized experiments take too much time
Have RCTs taken over development economics?
Definitions in RCTs with interference
What does a game-theoretic model with belief-dependent preferences teach us about how to randomize?
Are we over-investing in baselines?
Most good you can do, but for whom? (on spillovers)
How to document that randomization was indeed done randomly
A beginners guide to doing/thinking about doing an RCT/field study in China
You're probably doing it right: experimental design with heterogeneous treatment effects
Ethical Issues with randomized experiments and other research
Incorporating participant welfare and ethics into RCTs
Reporting requirements for ethical considerations in economics RCTs
Research with adolescents: issues surrounding consent
Questions around consent in cluster impact evaluations
Doing experiments with socially good, but privately bad treatments
Taking ethical validity seriously, and response 1, response 2, and response 3
Sometimes it is ethical to lie to your study subjects
The ethics of machine learning
The ethics of a control group in randomized impact evaluations
Hurting people while trying to help
Pre-analysis plans and reporting
Pre-registration of studies to avoid fishing and allow transparent discovery
A joint test of orthogonality when testing for baseline balance and balance tests after stratification
A pre-analysis plan check-list
The New Trial Registries
What isn’t reported in impact evaluations but maybe should be
Randomization checks: testing for joint orthogonality
An addendum to pre-analysis plans: pre-specifying when not to use data
A pre-analysis plan is the only way to take your p-values seriously
Trouble with pre-analysis plans? try these 3 weird tricks
Should we require balance t-tests on observables with randomized experiments?
Registered reports: piloting a pre-results review process at the JDE
Declaring and diagnosing research designs
Power to the Plan
How good are pre-analysis plans in practice? and lessons for writing/reviewing your next one
Registering studies when all you want is a little more credibility
A saner approach to pre-analysis plans
Pre-analysis plans and registered reports: what the new opinion piece does and does not imply
Propensity Score Matching
Guido Imbens on clustering standard errors with matching
Testing different matching estimators as applied to job training programs
The covariate balanced propensity score
What do you need to do to make matching more convincing? Rhetorical vs statistical checks
The often unspoken assumptions behind diff-in-diff
How big data helped us estimate the impact of an intervention with 0.8% take-up
What Are We Estimating When We Estimate Difference-in-Differences?
Difference-in-Differences in practice: the case of mobile phones and farmer productivity
Revisiting the Difference-in-Differences Parallel Trends Assumption Part I: Pre-Trend Testing
Revisiting the Difference-in-Differences Parallel Trends Assumption: Part II what happens when parallel trends are violated?
When your difference-in-differences has too many differences.
An adversarial or "long and squiggly" test of the plausibility of parallel trends in difference-in-differences analysis
Curves in all the wrong places: Gelman and Imbens on why not to use higher-order polynomials in RD
Regression discontinuity with an implicit index
Tools of the trade: the regression kink design
Ready, set, bunch
We got bunching, now what?
Using spatial variation in program performance to identify impacts
Event Study Designs
Econometrics Sandbox: Event Study Designs & Co.
Econometrics Sandbox: Randomization Inference for Event Study designs
Evaluating an Argentine tourism policy using synthetic controls: tan linda que enamora?
The synthetic control method, as applied to regulatory reforms
Do I need to “recruit” a control group for my trial?
Rethinking identification under the Bartik/Shift-Share instruments
Judge leniency designs: Now not just for Crime Studies
How can machine learning and artificial intelligence be used in development interventions and analysis?
The ethics of machine learning
Other Evaluation Methods
Impact as narrative
Small n impact evaluation methods
Can we trust shoestring evaluations?
Using case studies to explore and explain complex interventions
Another reason to prefer Ancova: dealing with measurement changes between baseline and follow-up
Endogenous stratification: the surprisingly easy way to bias your heterogeneous treatment effects and what to do instead
Why is difference-in-difference estimation still so popular in experimental analysis?
Regression adjustment in randomized experiments (part one, part two)
When to use survey weights in analysis
Adjustments for multiple hypothesis testing
An overview of Multiple hypothesis testing in Stata
An updated overview of multiple hypothesis testing in Stata
Bounding approaches to deal with attrition
Linear probability models versus probits
Dealing with multiple lotteries
Estimating standard errors with small clusters (part one, part two)
Estimation of treatment effects with incomplete compliance
What does Alwyn Young's paper mean for analysis of experiments?
Winsorizing, testing balance, and dealing with incomplete take-up
You ran a field experiment, should you then run a regression?
Sometimes, increasingly, estimating the ITT is not enough in experiments
Finally an easy way to do randomization inference in Stata
When should you cluster standard errors? New wisdom from the econometrics oracle
Your go to regression specification is biased: here is the simple fix
What should you do when your random assignment gets compromised?
Econometrics Sandbox: Attrition strikes back!
Be careful with inference from 2x2 experiments and other cross-cutting designs
Experimental design and Ancova when everyone has the same baseline outcome value
Randomly Drawn Equators? (randomization inference to account for spatial correlation)
Using a Surrogate Index to estimate long-term treatment impacts from a short-term follow-up
If your follow-up survey has attrition, what should you do for your descriptive analysis?
Power Calculations and Improving Power
Should I work with only a subsample of my control group if I have take-up problems?
Power calculations: what software should I use?
Does the intra-cluster correlation matter for power calculations if I am going to cluster my standard errors?
Power calculations for propensity score matching
Power calculations 101: dealing with incomplete take-up
Collecting more rounds of data to boost power
Improving power in small samples
Did you do your power calculations using standard deviations? Do them again.
Power calculations for regression discontinuity (part 1, part 2, part 3)
Power calculation software for randomized saturation experiments
Statistical power and the funnel of attribution
Should you over-sample compliers if budget is limited and you are concerned about take-up?
Take-up and the Inverse-Square Rule for Power Calculations Revisited: When does power not fall quite so drastically with take-up, and when does lower take-up increase power?
Why ex-post power using estimated effect sizes is bad, but an ex-post MDE is not
Back of the envelope power calcs
Different-sized baskets of fruit: how unequally sized clusters can lead your power calculations and analysis astray
You're probably doing it right: experimental design with heterogeneous treatment effects & when should you assign more units to a study arm?
Design sandbox: power calculations and optimal design for cost effectiveness (part 1, part 2).
On External Validity
Getting beyond the mirage of external validity
All those external validity issues with impacts? They apply to costs too
External validity as seen from other quantitative social sciences and the gaps in our practices
Towards a more systematic approach to external validity: understanding site selection bias
Weighting for external validity
Will that successful intervention over there get results here?
Learn to live without external validity
Why the external validity of regression estimates can be less than you think
Why similarity is the wrong concept for external validity
A rant on the external validity double standard
Towards policy irrelevance: on the experimental arms race
What's wrong in how we do impact evaluation?
What's in a title? Signaling external validity through titles in development economics
A framework for taking evidence from one setting to another
Informing policy with research that is more than the sum of the parts
External Validity Musings
Threats and opportunities in taking promising results to scale
Jargony Terms in Impact Evaluations
A proposed taxonomy of behavioral responses to evaluation
Quantifying the Hawthorne effect
The Hawthorne Effect
The John Henry Effect
Social Desirability Bias/Experimenter Demand Effects and more on Experimenter Demand Effects
Stata (and R) Tricks
Generating regression and summary statistics tables in Stata
Graphing impacts with Standard Error Bars
Calculating the intra-cluster correlation
Generating regression and summary statistics tables in Stata: A checklist and code
Stata code for correlated random coefficient models
Finally an easy way to do randomization inference in Stata
IEanalytics: introducing ietoolkit
Five small things I've learned recently
Tools of the trade: Using iemargins to graph impacts with standard error bars (IE Analytics update)
(love Stata but think R may be more your thing? Check out DIME's R training course for advanced Stata users!)
Nice and fast tables in Stata
Visual libraries for Stata and R
iefieldkit to document primary data collection and cleaning in Stata
Worm wars: the anthology
Worm wars: a review of the reanalysis of the Miguel and Kremer deworming study
Response to Brown and Wood's response
Brown and Woods response on "how scientific are scientific replications"
how scientific are scientific replications?
The infinite loop of failure of replication in economics
More replication in economics
A cynic's take on papers with novel methods to improve transparency
What development economists talk about when they talk about reproducibility …
Systematic reviews and meta-analysis
How systematic is that systematic review? The case of learning outcomes
How standard is a standard deviation? A cautionary note on using SDs to compare across impact evaluations
Should we give up on SDs for measuring effect size?
What do 600 papers on 20 types of interventions tell us about what types of interventions generalize?
If you want your study included in a systematic review, this is what you should report
Book Reviews for Books on Impact Evaluation
Review of Banerjee and Duflo's Poor Economics (and authors' reply)
Review of Manzi's Uncontrolled
Review of Imbens and Rubin's Causal Inference
Review of Glennerster and Takavarasha's Running Randomized Experiments
Review of Gerber and Green's Field Experiments
Review of Karlan and Appel's Failing in the Field
Review of Ogden's Experiments in Development from Every Angle
Review of Leigh's Randomistas: how radical researchers changed the world
Review of Gugerty and Karlan's The Goldilocks Challenge: Right-fit evidence for the social sector
Review of Luca and Bazerman's The Power of Experiments: Decision-making in a data-driven world
Review of Cunningham's Causal Inference: The Mixtape
11 tips for making a short presentation based on your research
Gotcha? tips and tricks for the economics seminar
State of Development Journals 2017
10 journals for publishing a short economics paper
How to publish statistically insignificant results in development
The State of Development Journals 2018
Writing a papers and proceedings paper
Have descriptive development papers been crowded out by impact evaluations?
Make your research known - 10 tools for increasing consumption of your research
Pre-results Review at the Journal of Development Economics: Lessons learned so far
The State of Development Journals 2019: Quality, Acceptance Rates, Review Times, and Open Science
The State of Development Journals 2020: Quality, Acceptance Rates, Review Times, and Multiple Rounds of Revisions
The State of Development Journals 2021: Quality, Acceptance Rates, Review Times, and how much did the pandemic change submissions