UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

New Study by Ashish Shenoy and Colleagues Highlights Challenges in Scaling up Development Programs from RCTs

April 13, 2020

Results of the study, co-authored by ARE Assistant Professor Ashish Shenoy, are outlined in a policy brief for the International Growth Centre titled, “Lessons learned from a scale-up of a seasonal migration RCT in Bangladesh.”

The authors found that successfully scaling up a previously effective migration subsidy program in northern Bangladesh may have been thwarted by seemingly benign administrative practices that set low targets. Explaining that “Targets that are set too low, even if for administrative reasons, can lead to the use of resources primarily on those who already comply with the program, rather than changing the behavior of those who might benefit the most.”

Policy recommendations from the study include clearly communicating how a program is intended to function, gathering enough baseline information to accurately set expectations, and monitoring effectiveness by measuring outcomes rather than implementation targets.

The study provides interesting and important insight into the issues that can arise when scaling up programs.

Full policy brief is available here


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