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

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Abstract

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.

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