Journaltalk - Big Questions and Poor Economics: Banerjee and Duflo on Schooling in Developing Countries

Big Questions and Poor Economics: Banerjee and Duflo on Schooling in Developing Countries

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  • James Tooley
Keywords Education, private schools, private education, development, developing countries
Volume Number 9
Issue Number 3
Pages 170-185
File URL Big Questions and Poor Economics: Banerjee and Duflo on Schooling in Developing Countries
Publication year 2012

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  1. I certainly see this same pattern among randomista researchers in studies on interventions to improve access to and/or quality of health services and products .

    The need to answer “big questions” or, pretend to policy relevance (and levels of external validity RCT they lack) means that RCT papers in health very frequently have conclusions that go (way) past the statistical findings. And to generate these conclusions, researchers mostly just pull up some scattered references to support their own biases.

    A common one in health is: our analysis confirms that demand curves slope downward…SO government should provide (whatever) for free through it’s facilities/ supply system. So, similar to what James outlines wrt the Poor Econ chapter and education RCTs, there is a huge leap from the studies’ findings to policy prescriptions – and similarly manifesting a public-sector-solution centric view of the world (not to mention ignoring scarcity of resources…perhaps an even worse sin for economists!).
    Thanks James for taking the time to elaborate these issues.

    posted 27 Sep 2012 by April Harding

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