In 2014, we directed you to the 3ie database of impact evaluations. Here is another - the American Economic Association's registry for RCTs - one (implicit) purpose of which is perhaps to discourage ex post data mining with the focus on design and hypotheses. 29 of the 329 registered trials are tagged as agriculture, many of which are relevant to CGIAR (for instance, see this https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/559 and this https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/449).
Heard of the recent DFID call for proposals to "accelerate the development of innovative and interdisciplinary methods, metrics and tools to advance scientific understanding of the linkages between agriculture and food systems, and health and nutrition outcomes, to better inform policy and programmatic actions in low and middle income countries (LMICs)"? 7-8 grants worth £250,000 will be awarded. Call is open till November 21, 2014 - more information in the call document.16Oct 2014
A recognized (and well-acknowledged) drawback of RCTs is general equilibrium concerns. What happens to (potential) impacts when interventions studied in field experiments scale-up, as in agricultural technology adoption? Even when RCTs measure spillovers (to the non-beneficiaries), these may not be aggregate (market) effects. As Mushfiq and Mobarak (2014) note, few RCTs examine GE consequences for both beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries. In a recent workshop organized by SPIA (proceedings forthcoming), a participant noted that RCTs on agricultural technology adoption have to be big and broad to address external validity concerns because there are important complementaries with weather and biophysical conditions. These researchers, on the other hand, were able to design an RCT big enough to detect GE wage and labour demand effects.29Aug 2014
A recent paper (Agriculture, nutrition, and health in global development: typology and metrics for integrated interventions and research) in the Annals of New York Academy of Sciences focuses on the challenge of how best to assess impacts of integrated programs on food security, nutrition, and agriculture that also reflect the synergies of this integrated approach. As Masters et al. (2014) state "..but few have been rigorously analyzed, and most remain focused on measuring siloed outcomes within sectors and then aggregating these as if their impact equaled the sum of their parts." The complexity in IA is compounded when one considers that such interventions often operate at different scales.28Aug 2014