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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fighting for Reliable Evidence

Random assignment experimentation, once used primarily in medical clinical trials, is now an accepted method among social scientists across a broad range of disciplines. The technique is used to evaluate a variety of programs from microfinance and welfare reform to housing vouchers and teaching methods. So how did randomized experiments move beyond the realm of medicine and into the social sciences? Can these methods be used effectively to evaluate complex social problems and programs?

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JPAM Call for Papers: Empirical Strategies in International Development Research

March 27, 2013 09:00 AM

The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM) invites papers for a symposium on Empirical Strategies in International Development Research. Since the end of World War II, hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested directly by developed country governments, or indirectly via multilateral institutions, to promote economic development in the Global South. Private foundations have also become major players in at least some categories of development aid. Yet, the results of these resource flows have been variable, at best, and discouraging, at worst. An important reason behind “aid fatigue” is the belief that resource transfers via foreign aid have insufficiently achieved their goal: to promote economic development. This has been attributed to a range of factors that include poor choices about development instruments, the challenging institutional and social contexts in which development efforts take place and even the shortcomings of aid beneficiaries. Fears of inefficiency, abuse and fraud abound. Scholars have responded by seeking to empirically assess “what actually works”; alas, their efforts have often been frustrated by a range of methodological problems that include establishing causality and reliably estimating the effects of policy inputs.

Download the full Call for Papers.

Encouragingly, however, in the last two decades scholars have pioneered new empirical techniques to address these problems. These include the use of randomized field experiments and sophisticated econometric techniques. This JPAM symposium seeks to assess as well as showcase cutting edge empirical work in this vein. We invite papers that explore how the efficacy of different types of interventions in different types of institutional and social settings and targeted at different audiences might be assessed in relation to well specified development objectives. We invite both original papers as well as papers which coherently weave together extant work. JPAM is the flagship journal of the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management. It typically ranks among the top public policy journals. While JPAM readership is sophisticated, we would like the papers to be written in a way that makes them accessible to wide audiences.

Submissions for this special issue should be made through the regular online submission
process for the journal at editorialexpress.com/jpam/.

Please indicate with your submission that you would like your paper to be considered for this special issue. Initial submissions for this symposium will be accepted until July 1, 2013. Professor Victor A. Menaldo and Professor Aseem Prakash will serve as guest editors for this symposium along with JPAM editor-in-chief, Dr. Maureen Pirog. Please direct all enquiries to the guest editors.

Download the full Call for Papers.

 

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