Replication in Economics: Psychology Isn’t the Only Place Where Context Matters

[From the blog, “The replication puzzle: why do policies work there but not here?” by Tom Graham, posted at Apolitical]
“In the US, the Nurse-Family Partnership is considered a proven program. It sends nurses to visit poor first-time mothers, and in three randomised controlled trials (RCTs) it’s been shown to have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of mother and child. The model was imported to the UK on that basis and shifted to a much bigger scale. But when it was already being implemented at 132 sites across the country, they tested it in an RCT — and found it had no effect.”
“The Nurse-Family Partnership is one of the clearest recent cases of a puzzle that bedevils any attempt to replicate a program that’s working somewhere else: generalisability. It’s the question mark at the centre of any scale up: if we replicate an approach in a new context, can we expect the impact to be similar?”
To read more, click here.

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