NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Assessing External Validity

Hao Bo, Sebastian Galiani

NBER Working Paper No. 26422
Issued in November 2019
NBER Program(s):Development Economics Program

In designing any causal study, steps must be taken to address both internal and external threats to its validity. Researchers tend to focus primarily on dealing with threats to internal validity. However, once they have conducted an internally valid analysis, that analysis yields an established set of findings for the specific case in question. As for the future usefulness of that result, however, what matters is its degree of external validity. In this paper we provide a formal, general exploration of the question of external validity and propose a simple and generally applicable method for evaluating the external validity of randomized controlled trials.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26422

 
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