Randomising Development: Geography, Economics and the Search for Scientific Rigour



Development economics has become something of an innovator within the discipline of economics, due to its adoption of experimental and statistical analysis techniques. In this paper I give examples of this new trend in development economics: randomised-control trials, natural experiments, specialist analytical techniques like pre-analysis plans, and evidence-driven policy evaluation. I explore this novel experimental development economics in conversation with current argumentation in economic/development geography about economics. I do this in order to ask whether this experimental trend responds to any of these geographical critiques. Although I find that this new development economics repeats many of the tendencies of economics that geographers find so specious, it does pose challenges to economic/development geography, which I explore.