Anouncement of the next session (December 13th, 6:30 PM): Florent Bédécarrats, Isabelle Guérin and François Roubaud on a Critical perspective on Randomized Controlled Trials in the field of Development.

The next session of the BRICS seminar will be held jointly with EPOG+ on Wednesday, Décember 12th, starting exceptionnaly at 6:30 PM. It will be organized in an hybrid format – both online and in person, at Université Paris Cité (campus Paris Rive Gauche), salle 418C, bat. Halle aux Farines. You can also follow the conference online, by clicking on the following link:

We will welcome:

Florent Bédécarrats (USQV-IRD – UMI SOURCE)

Isabelle Guérin (IRD – CESSMA)

François Roubaud (IRD – DIAL)

On the following topic:

Randomized Controlled Trials in the Field of Development: a Critical Perspective

This presentation will introduce and put into perspective the book “Expérimentations aléatoires dans le champ du développement: une perspective critique”, which has just been published in French by IRD, following on from the English version already published by Oxford University Press. The book is available free of charge in electronic format in both languages (open access). It brings together contributions from specialists and practitioners from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines (economics, econometrics, mathematics, statistics, political economy, socio-economics, anthropology, philosophy, global health, epidemiology and medicine, evaluation) as well as policy-makers.
The presentation will be divided into three parts, summarised below.

1. Questioning the claimed superiority of experimental methods

The first part will build on the main thrusts of the introductory chapters of this book, proposed by Angus Deaton and the editors, to highlight the scientific and political need to question the place that randomised methods have acquired in the evaluation of development policies.

2. Weak validity of RCTs: the example of microcredit
The second part will return to the chapter prepared by the authors which reviews six RCTs conducted on microcredit in different countries and which were published in a special issue of a prestigious economics journal in 2015. Although this special issue is often regarded as the definitive conclusion of a long debate on the effectiveness of this type of financial service, our analysis shows that these studies in fact contain numerous flaws linked to the quality of the data on which they are based, the way in which they have been processed, disruptions to the evaluation protocols, the validity of their results, the interpretation made of them by their authors and the generalisations that have been drawn from them.

3. Opening the debate: multiple positions and perspectives
The third section will provide an overview of the contrasting arguments put forward by the contributors to the book, whether to demonstrate the advantages of the approach (Morduch, Ogden, Vivalt), to point out its methodological or epistemological limitations (Ravaillion, Pritchett, Heckman, Picciotto), or to illustrate its applications in public policy fields (Spears et al, Garchitorena et al.), or to question their symbolic and ethical motivations (Labrousse, Abramowicz and Szafarz).