ENSAE Paris - École d'ingénieurs pour l'économie, la data science, la finance et l'actuariat

Randomized Methods and Policy Evaluation



Département : Economics


Over the last ten years there has been an impressive effort from researchers to go in the field and examine in a concrete manner issues in development economics related to topics such as education, health, finance, employment and many others. Researchers have considered a lot of different programs designed to address a problem and measure its impact on a wide range of outcome variables using randomized control trials. This impressive amount of evidence has helped to accumulate a lot of knowledge about many issues and problem and the way to address them.
The purpose of the course is to examine some key lessons that have been obtained from this effort.  The course is based on all the knowledge that has been accumulated by the Jameel Poverty Action Lab, one of the major lab involved in this endeavor. It focuses on poverty alleviation problems that have been evaluated both in developed and developing countries. 
The course focuses on the link between economic issues related to on specific topic in poverty alleviation, the interventions designed to address the problem, the randomized evaluation that was implemented to evaluate the program and then the policy decision that were taken. It is this last link between academic knowledge that takes the form of a paper and the policy decision which is core of the course content.
It is a course which is interesting for student who are interested in how economics can be leveraged to solve economic problem in practice and how to turn research into action. 
The objective is that participants will present a topic that I have prepared. It is also that student actively participate in when a topic is presented. Active participation is therefore a key aspect of the course. 
The topics that we will consider are listed below
There is no final exam for this course. Students get their mark based on their presentation of the topic they have selected and based on their participation in the different class.


First Class: Introduction

Below is a list of possibl topics. However any topic that would be of interest to students is welcome as long as it follows the general format: a policy issue, an intervention or set of interventions tested with RCTs and then linked to decision making

Topic 1 : The pricing and use of preventive health products 

Topic 2 : Deworming 

Topic 3 : Promoting housing choice to improve economic mobility 

Topic 4 : Overfishing 

Topic 5 : Targeting the Ultra poor 

Topic 6 : Microcredit 

Topic 7 : Give Directly 

Topic 8 :Community chlorine dispensers for better health 

Topic 9 : Teaching at the Right Level 

Topic 10 : Fund flow reform for social program delivery 

Topic 11 : Improving the Transparency and Delivery of a Subsidized Rice Program in Indonesia


Most material used in the course can be found on the J-Pal web site: https://www.povertyactionlab.org/
or the Innovation for Poverty Action (IPAZ) web site: https://www.poverty-action.org/ 
On J-Pal website the most relevant poages are

Policy insight pages : https://www.povertyactionlab.org/policy-insights
Evidence to Policy pages: https://www.povertyactionlab.org/evidence-to-policy