Specifics of the rural context

There are a number of variants to RCTs that distinguish themselves through the unit of randomisation, the rule applied to assign the population to treatment or control, and the ways in which the treatment is allocated or spaced in time. Each of these will be introduced through an example from the rural development field. It is worth noting that in the databases of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), a large number of RCTs can be found in the rural space.

Based on our experience, there are three issues that distinguish rural RCTs from urban ones. One the one hand, they are easier to implement in the rural context as threats of contamination are relatively low due to limited transmission of information, which is typically contained within the villages. On the other, two issues may be complicating factors in the rural context: first, responses to survey-questions may be more prone to various types of response biases (e.g.