How successful are millenium villages as crucibles for experimentation on development? And can we measure their impact?
Sachs defended the project’s claims of impact based on before-and-after analysis. He and Prabhjot Singh wrote that one cannot compare trends at the intervention sites to trends elsewhere:
“The logic is also flawed. In a single-intervention study at the individual level (e.g. for a new medicine) one can have true controls (one group gets the medicine, the other gets a placebo or some other medicine). With communities, there are no true controls. Life changes everywhere, in the MVs and outside of them.”
In other words, they claim, comparing trends at the intervention sites to trends in other areas is illegitimate, because things are changing everywhere.
This is where it gets ugly, because the above is just bizarrely wrong.
Check out the rest of what Michael Clemens (of the CGD) has to say on this here.