Is ‘rigorous evidence’ an oxymoron?

Lant Pritchett writes

 Evidence would be “rigorous” about predicting the future impact of the adoption of a policy only if the conditions under which the policy was to be implemented were exactly the same in every relevant dimension as that under which the “rigorous” evidence was generated.  But that can never be so because neither economics—nor any other social science—have theoretically sound and empirically validated invariance laws that specify what “exactly the same” conditions would be.

as usual, golden from Lant. Do read in full.

In a previous blog, Heather and I had written about preparing to use evidence – an aspect that has not been as rigorously thought-out as say, concerns of internal validity. Without formative work on the design on interventions and involvement of key decision-makers (the real audience of the research being conducted), evidence cannot be applied even in the same contexts where research was conducted, let alone in other contexts.


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