A prize to be expected. Banerjee, Duflo & Kremer rely on key tenets of mainstream Econ. While founded on behavioral econ and assumption that tweaks to individual actions can alleviate global poverty, their work is often wrongly presented as purely empirical, objective & radical.
A good a time as any to revisit some critiques of the body of work that this year's laureates have paved the way for. Last year, @farwasial and @cacrisalves wrote a critique of RCTs for @CriticalDev: Why Positive Thinking Won't Get You Out of Poverty 👇
Angus Deaton and Nancy Cartwright's classic critique, which cautions against simple extrapolations from trials to other contexts, is also worth revisiting.
The Limitations of Randomised Controlled Trials 👇 voxeu.org/article/limita…
Last year leading economists argued in @guardian that the focus on micro-interventions associated with RCTs can do little to alleviate poverty if we fail to also tackle its root causes:
Buzzwords & Tortuous Impact Studies Won't Fix a Broken Aid System 👇
Related is also Ben Fine et al's critique of behavioral approaches in development from 2015:
Nudging or Fudging 👇 onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.111…
Martin Ravallion's (@MartinRavallion) review of Poor Economics is also worth a read. He questions how far Duflo and Banerjee's approach will get us in the fight against global poverty:
Fighting Poverty One Experiment at a Time 👇
Sanjay Reddy's (@sanjaygreddy) critique questions the randomistas' ability to explain global poverty and their approach's "technocratic premises, its naïve view of politics and society, and its unselfconscious do-goodism". Check it out:
Randomise This! 👇
There's also @N_Kabeer's critique, which questions to what extent RCTs take human agency seriously. Here's an interview with her by @fp2p:
Naila Kabeer on Why Randomized Controlled Trials Need to Include Human Agency 👇
This paper of Reinert (2006) Development and Social Goals: Balancing Aid and Development to Prevent ‘Welfare Colonialism’, criticizes the millennium goals to reduce poverty, palliative economy or welfare colonialism.
They studiously avoid mentioning the success of the PRC, because ideologically they can't. Half the book seems to b them figuring out how to convince us not to take their own data srlsly b/c it indicates the need 4 a strong state w/ long term plan & anti-corruption power, eg PRC
It totally is empirical, but I think what they mean is that some perceive their work to be a-theoretical. There are a small number of economists who feel that their work is unscientific (in the same way that the inductive approach might be considered unscientific).
I don't really see their work in this way. Alleviating poverty is not the primary goal of scholars (not should it be). In this sense, I find limited contribution (if any). This is the domain of policy.
Contributions to *understanding* poverty? I believe that is substantial.
For a political economy perspective, see Bédécarrats (@BedecarratsF), Guérin & Roubaud's article. It explores how RCTs fit w/ contemporary scientific business models & interests of donor communities:
All That Glitters Is Not Gold 👇 doi.org/10.1111/dech.1…