Randomized Methods and Policy Evaluation


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 course has a general introduction to the topic. It then consists in presentations of papers by students. The purpose is both that participants present papers but also that they discuss them. Active participation is therefore a key aspect of the course. These papers all share the characteristic that they are related to randomized control trial. They can, however, cover many different aspects of randomized control trials. It can correspond first to papers reporting the results of randomized control trials. Many topics can be covered corresponding to interest of participants: education, financial inclusion, access to health services, integration in the labor market, governance, crime,…. It can also correspond to specific issues related to implementation of randomized control trials: specific design to run randomized control trials in networks– use of big data technics to explore heterogeneity of impacts and related implementations.

There is no final exam for this course. Students get their mark based on their presentation of the paper they have selected and based on their participation in the different sessions?.


  1. Randomized Experiments and their Implementations
  2. Topics:
  • Education
  • Health Incentives
  • Employment
  • Micro-Finance


Student Participation
Robert Jensen, 2010. "The (Perceived) Returns to Education and the Demand for Schooling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 515-548, May.
Trang Nguyen 2008 « Information Role Models and perceived Returns to Education : Experimental Evidence form Madagascar » mimeo
Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, 01.
Felipe Barrera-Osorio, Marianne Bertrand, Leigh Linden, Francisco Perez-Calle. 2011. “Improving the Design of Conditional Transfer Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Education Experiment in Colombia.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 3(2): 167-195
Paul Schultz, 2000 « The Impact of Porgressa on school enrollment »
David Evans, Michael Kremer, Muthoni Ngatia 2009 « The Impact of Distributing School Uniforms  on Children’s Education in Kenya »
Iqbal Dhaliwal, Esther Duflo, Rachel Glennerster, Caitlin Tulloch 2012  «Comparative Cost-Effectiveness Analysis to Inform Policy in Developing Countries: A General Framework with Applications for Education»

Cohen, Jessica and Pascaline Dupas. 2010. “Free  Distribution or Cost Sharing? Evidence from a Randomized  Malaria Prevention Experiment.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 125(1): 1-45.
Dupas, Pascaline. 2009. “What Matters (and What Does Not) in Households’ Decision to Invest in Malaria Prevention?” American Economic Review
99(2): 224-230.
Dupas, Pascaline. 2010. “Short-Run Subsidies and Long-Run Adoption of New Health Products: Evidence from a Field Experiment.” NBER Working Paper No. 16298.
Hoffmann, Vivian. 2009. “Intrahousehold Allocation of Free and Purchased Mosquito Nets.”
American Economic Review 99(2): 236-241.
Ashraf, Nava, James Berry, and Jesse M. Shapiro. 2010.  “Can Higher Prices Stimulate Product Use? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Zambia.” American Economic Review 100(5): 2383-2413.

Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries With a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1993-2008, November.
Crépon, Bruno, Florencia Devoto, Esther Duflo, and William Parienté. 2011. “Impact of Micro- credit in Rural Areas of Morocco: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation.” MIT Working Paper. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, March.
Ashraf, Nava, Dean Karlan, and Wesley Yin. 2006. “Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 121(2): 635–72.
Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-90, October.
Robert Jensen, 2012. "Do Labor Market Opportunities Affect Young Women's Work and Family Decisions? Experimental Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 753-792.
Bruno Crépon & Esther Duflo & Marc Gurgand & Roland Rathelot & Philippe Zamora, 2013. "Do Labor Market Policies have Displacement Effects? Evidence from a Clustered Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 531-580.
Orazio Attanasio & Adriana Kugler & Costas Meghir, 2011. "Subsidizing Vocational Training for Disadvantaged Youth in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Trial," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 188-220, July.