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Stevano, Sara (2020) 'Small Development Questions are Important, but They Require Big Answers.' World Development, 127 (104826). p. 104826.

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The 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics awarded to the pioneers of Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) is a welcome acknowledgement of the fundamental challenge of poverty, but it should also be an opportunity to engage with the plurality of voices in development. A wealth of critiques of RCTs have highlighted how they neglect the structural conditions of poverty and are exposed to ethical and methodological flaws. Building on these critiques and primary research in Mozambique and Ghana, I engage with the debate on ‘small versus big questions’ – the RCT approach breaks big development questions into small ones in ways that jeopardise, according to critics, our understanding of development processes. I argue that small questions are also important, but, unlike what RCTs offer, they require big answers. Using the case of food, I show that we need approaches that can bridge micro-macro divides and highlight the structural underpinnings of daily practices.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Economics
ISSN: 0305750X
Copyright Statement: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2020 09:38

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