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Experimental evidence, scaling and public policy: a perspective from developing countries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2020

ANANDI MANI
Affiliation:
Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Corresponding
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Abstract

I highlight two important factors particular to less-developed countries that can bias evidence generation and contribute to the ‘voltage drop’ in programme benefits, moving from field research experiments to policy implementation at scale. The first is the non-linear increase in information processing and coordination costs associated with upscaling in less-developed countries, given limited state capacity and rigid organizational hierarchies. The second is political bias in the choice of programmes considered for rigorous evaluation itself, resulting in distorted evidence and policy choice. These two factors raise considerations that complement the economics-based approach outlined by Al-Ubaydli et al. in the quest for more rigorous, evidence-based policy.

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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