Accueil > Evaluating social programs: randomized experiments


Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


No prerequisites. This course is not designed for economists already having a good knowledge of randomized impact evaluations, but for a general audience wanting to understand how they work and what they can bring to the public debate.

Course Description

Randomized experiments are getting more and more popular to measure the impact of social policies and programs. The goal of this course is to provide a detailed understanding of this methodology and of its results. The first part of the course will address the methodology: Why and when is a rigorous evaluation of social impact needed? What are the common pitfalls of evaluations, and why does randomization help? What are the key components of a good randomized evaluation design? How do you determine the appropriate sample size, measure outcomes, and manage data? What kind of results do you get? The second part of the course will present examples of completed field experiments and discuss important results in the area of health, education and private sector development. Throughout the sessions, students will be prepared to conceive a group presentation giving the main lines of a possible randomized evaluation.


POULIQUEN, Victor (Chercheur)

Pedagogical format

12 weeks.

Course validation

50% individual work (to be delivered at the end of February) ; 50% group project.


Some readings, a paper synthesis, a group presentation.

Required reading

Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo (2011): “Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty”. (Version Française disponible sous le titre « Repenser la pauvreté »)

Additional required reading

  • Glennerster, Takavarasha: “Running Randomized Evaluations: a Practical Guide”, Princeton University Press, 2013
  • Gertler, Martinez, Premand, Rawlings, Vermeersch : « Impact Evaluation in Practice , Second Edition », The World Bank, 2016 (PdF available on the Internet)
  • Duflo, E.: “Human values and the design of the fight against poverty”, Tanner Lectures, May 2012