Following a call for proposals on nutrition impacts from agricultural research that SPIA issued in mid-2013, five new impact assessment studies are now in the pipeline. The lead scientists from each of these five studies, as well as SPIA and a number of external experts such as Alan Dangour (LSHTM), Inge Brouwer (Wageningen) and James Garrett (IFPRI/IFAD), all gathered in sunny Wageningen, Netherlands, on July 4-5th 2014 for a workshop organised by Erwin Bulte and colleagues from Wageningen University and Research Center.
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