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Diagnostics and field experiments
- Voors, Maarten
- Netherlands journal of agricultural science 2018 v.84 pp. 80-84
- development policy, diagnostic techniques, field experimentation, politics, researchers, scientists
- Field experiments have been embraced in development economics and political science as a core method to learn what development interventions work and why. Scientists across the globe actively engage with development practitioners to evaluate projects and programmes. However, even though field experiments have raised the bar on causality, they are often too narrowly defined and lack focus on structural development problems. Researchers and development practitioners should do more to improve the diagnostic process of the problem under study. Rodrik’s (2010) diagnostic framework provides a useful tool to improve the design and relevance of field experiments. Specifically, more should be done to seek coordination across studies, broaden the scope for interdisciplinary collaborations and seek peer review to increase validation and verification of evaluations. Only then can we increase knowledge aggregation and improve development policy making.