Economic Experiments in Developing Countries

BSRS920 Economic Experiments in Developing Countries

Autumn 2023

  • Topics

    Research in development economics has been transformed by the increase and feasibility of field and lab experiments in economics. The 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer because “in just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics.”

    Experiments are now one of the main tools to understand and address several sources of inequality, such as differences in access to health and education, gender roles and bargaining within the household, inclusion in financial systems, and taxation.

    This course will introduce students to state-of-the-art experimental methods in development economics. Students will get the basics of randomized controlled trials and lab-in-the-field experiments and study applications of these methods on some of the main topics in development economics.

  • Learning outcome


    At the end of the course, students will:

    • Have in-depth knowledge of the causes and solutions to issues in the developing world.
    • Be able to describe the basics of the design and analysis of experiments.


    At the end of the course, students will:

    • Formulate their own experiment addressing one issue in development economics.
    • Write a term paper indicating the main hypotheses to be tested with the experiment, the main outcomes to be collected, and a proposal on how to conduct the data analysis. This document is known as a pre-analysis plan.

    General competence

    At the end of the course, students will:

    • Be able to explain how experiments can help address issues in development economics.

  • Teaching

    The teaching will involve guest plenary lectures in the different topics covered in the course (see the list of lecturers below). In addition, students will choose a topic of interest individually or in groups, formulate a research question that can be answered with the use of an experiment, design the experiment, and write a pre-analysis plan with details of the hypotheses, experimental design and plan for analysis of the data collected.

    Kjetil Bjorvatn, Professor of Economics, NHH,

    Vincent Somville, Associate Professor of Economics, NHH,

    Catalina Franco, Post-doctoral researcher, NHH,

    Charlotte Ringdal, Post-doctoral researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI),

    Peter Hangoma, Postdoctoral researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) and the University of Bergen (UiB),

    Fenella Carpena, Associate Professor of Economics, OsloMet,

    Lore Vanderwalle, Associate Professor of Economics, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva,

    Ingrid Home Sjursen, Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI),

  • Restricted access

    Students apply and are accepted via the BSRS 2022: (copy and paste the url). Applicants will be prioritized according to academic criteria.

    The maximum amount of participants for each course is 20, and the minimum number is 8. If the number is lower than 8, the course will be cancelled. (BSRS allocates stipends to participants according to defined criteria).

  • Recommended prerequisites

    A basic course in statistics or econometrics.

  • Assessment

    The course will either grant 4 ECTS or 10 ECTS depending on the assessment you choose in the course.

    Participants have two options:

    4 ECTS are granted to students for full participation in the course-specific modules, plenary events and roundtables.

    10 ECTS are granted to students for submitting a term paper in the form of a pre-analysis plan. The pre-analysis plan must be written in English and will be due one month after the course completion. Students can write the pre-analysis plan individually or in groups of at most three students

  • Grading Scale



ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered spring 2022.

June 7 to June 16, 2022 (3 and a half hours each day)