“If the data and related metadata collected for impact evaluations was more readily discoverable, searchable, and made available, the world would be a better place. “
With this global statement Markus Goldstein, a researcher of the World Bank, started his blogpost about a better access to impact evaluation data. For Goldstein, the advantages to access this kind of data are overwhelming:
“It would be easier to replicate studies and, in the process, to expand them by for example: trying other outcome indicators; checking robustness; and looking for heterogeneity effects (e.g. gender). There is also a wealth of other things one could do with the related metadata, including: looking at how different wording of survey questions generates different answers and getting parameters for power calculations. Last but not least, making these data available would allow for a wide range of non-impact evaluation research.”
- The first is that researchers need some return on their investment – they spend a lot of time developing the instruments, negotiating the entire set up of both the survey and the evaluation, acquiring money and so on.
- The second reason: making data available is a painfull job he claims, because a lot of variables have to be documented – and all this in a somewhat friendly format. The whole issue get’s even more painfull, if some part of the data considers confidential information, because this takes even more careful attention.
- Third, there are no rewards or incentives in the economics profession as a whole for bearing this cost or pain.