CGD Policy Blogs
A few years ago, Alaka Holla and Michael Kremer, the latter a leader in the randomization revolution, opened a CGD working paper with this interesting observation:
Over the past 10 to 15 years, randomized evaluations have gone from being a rarity to a standard part of the toolkit of academic development economics. We are now at a point where, at least for some issues, we can stand back and look beyond the results of a single evaluation to see whether certain common lessons emerge.
The Center for Global Development andpresent
Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance
In March, Mark Pitt leveled two major charges at the attempt by Jonathan Morduch and myself to replicate the Pitt & Khandker assessment of microcredit. Both charges highlighted discrepancies between our version of the statistical analysis and the original. One of those was that we left out a control variable (this post explains the error without excusing it). The other I will explicate now in a nontechnical way.
You may know that when I began my inquiry into microfinance I found myself drawn into scrutinizing what were then the leading studies of the impact of microcredit. The strategy was to reproduce ("replicate") those studies on my own computer as well as I could. In 2009, I wrote a paper with Jonathan Morduch that built on his earlier work in this vein, and argued that the leading studies had not, after all, succeeded in measuring impacts.
CGAP has published a nice summary of what we can learn from the growing collection of randomized studies of microfinance.