How randomised trials and the town of Busia, Kenya changed economics
In the early 1990s, when economist Michael Kremer finished his PhD, there had been few economic studies based on randomised control trials (RCTs), due to their expense and time consuming nature. By chance, he had the opportunity to run an RCT in Busia, Kenya with a nonprofit to test whether the aid they were giving to local schools helped the students. That study paved the way for more randomised trials, and for other economists to use the method. In 2019, Michael went on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics for his pioneering economic approach to alleviating global poverty along with co-founders and co-directors of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee.