I just published a new article in the Review of Political Economy, “Nobel Rebels in Disguise — Assessing the Rise and Rule of the Randomistas,” which assesses the theoretical and empirical foundations of the use of randomised control trials in Economics, and its impact on policy debates in development economics and in the aid industry.
I wrote an essay for the World Development Symposium on Development and Poverty Alleviation. Here is the abstract:
This article situates the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in the history of thought on development, tracing how the focus, theory and methods have shifted in the field. The article evaluates theoretical and methodological critiques of the way randomized control trials (RCTs) are employed by the laureates, as well as attempts to overcome these challenges. In terms of theory, the article demonstrates what gets lost when experiments are guided by methodological individualism and assumptions of individual utility-maximizing behavior. In terms of methodology, the article unpacks the limits of RCTs related to their causal model, and their lack of attention to human agency and wider socio-economic context. Finally, the article discusses the experimental approach’s relevance for research and policy-making and cautions against any approach becoming a “gold standard,” due to the importance of pluralism for maintaining an open debate about development.
I speak with Lev Moscow about the Nobel Prize in Economics (and what it says about the state of the economics profession). A Correction is a podcast that is directed towards high school teachers and students, based in New York City. Listen to the podcast here.
This week I had the pleasure of appearing on Doug Henwood’s political economy radio show, the LBO news. He picked my brain about the recent developments in the field of development economics and the work of Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer, in particular. This is a one-hour episode, with René Rojas being interviewed by the political demonstrations in Chile in the first half, and me being interviewed in the second half. You can download the podcast here or listen to it by pressing the play button below.
I recently wrote this opinion piece for openDemocracy on the work of this year’s winners of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The so-called Nobel went to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, for promoting an experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.
The piece was also re-published by the URPE blog, The Mint, the Kashmir Times, Momentum Institut (in German), and Disparada (in Portuguese), and was covered by several newspapers, including by the Argentinian business newspaper La Nacion (Con el Nobel a los “randomistas”,la grieta llegó al ámbito académico) and the French daily newspaper Libération (L’extinction expérimentale et aléatoire du paupérisme).