The Method of Randomization and the Role of Reasoned Intuition

32 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Kaushik Basu

Kaushik Basu

Cornell University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Brookings Institution

Date Written: December 1, 2013


The method of randomization has been a major driver in the recent rise to prominence of empirical development economics. It has helped uncover patterns and facts that had earlier escaped attention. But it has also given rise to debate and controversy. This paper evaluates the method of randomization and concludes that, while the method of randomization is the gold standard for description, and does uncover what is here called' circumstantial causality,' it is not able to demonstrate generalized causality. Nor does it, in itself, lead to policy conclusions, as is often claimed by its advocates. To get to policy conclusions requires combining the findings of randomized experiments with human intuition, which, being founded in evolution, has innate strengths. Moreover, even non-randomized empirical methods combined with reasoned intuition can help in crafting development policy.

Keywords: Population Policies, Knowledge for Development, Educational Sciences, Economic Theory & Research, Agricultural Knowledge and Information Systems

Suggested Citation

Basu, Kaushik, The Method of Randomization and the Role of Reasoned Intuition (December 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6722. Available at SSRN:

Kaushik Basu (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States
607-255-2525 (Phone)
607-255-2818 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics