Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Women’s empowerment and economic development: a feminist critique of story telling practices in ‘Randomista' economics

Kabeer, Naila ORCID: 0000-0001-7769-9540 (2020) Women’s empowerment and economic development: a feminist critique of story telling practices in ‘Randomista' economics. Feminist Economics, 26 (2). 1 - 26. ISSN 1354-5701

[img] Text (Kabeer_womens-empowerment-and-economic-development--published) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (423kB)

Identification Number: 10.1080/13545701.2020.1743338


The 2019 Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to three scholars on the grounds that their pioneering use of randomized control trials (RCTs) was innovative methodologically and contributed to development policy and the emergence of a new development economics. Using a critical feminist lens, this article challenges that conclusion by interrogating the storytelling practices deployed by “randomista” economists through a critical reading of a widely cited essay by Esther Duflo, one of the 2019 Nobel recipients, on the relationship between women’s empowerment and economic development. The paper argues that the limitations of randomista economics have given rise to a particular way of thinking characterized by piecemeal analysis, ad hoc resort to theory, indifference to history and context, and methodological fundamentalism. It concludes that the randomista argument that broad-based economic development alone – without focused attention to women’s rights – will lead to gender equality has not been borne out by recent data.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J0 - General > J01 - Labor Economics: General
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2020 13:18
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 21:30

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics