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The method of randomization and the role of reasoned intuition
 
Author:Basu, Kaushik; Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 6722
Country:World; Date Stored:2013/12/12
Document Date:2013/12/01Document Type:Policy Research Working Paper
Language:EnglishRegion:The World Region
Report Number:WPS6722SubTopics:Economic Theory & Research; Knowledge for Development; Population Policies; Educational Sciences; Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems
Volume No:1 of 1  

Summary: The method of randomization has been a major driver in the recent rise to prominence of empirical development economics. It has helped uncover patterns and facts that had earlier escaped attention. But it has also given rise to debate and controversy. This paper evaluates the method of randomization and concludes that, while the method of randomization is the gold standard for description, and does uncover what is here called 'circumstantial causality,' it is not able to demonstrate generalized causality. Nor does it, in itself, lead to policy conclusions, as is often claimed by its advocates. To get to policy conclusions requires combining the findings of randomized experiments with human intuition, which, being founded in evolution, has innate strengths. Moreover, even non-randomized empirical methods combined with reasoned intuition can help in crafting development policy.

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