Lessons learned from a scale-up of a seasonal migration RCT in Bangladesh

  • When development programmes expand from small-scale evaluations to large-scale implementation, the increase in size requires new administration and management practices. Project administration can potentially limit the effectiveness of programmes at scale even if there are few changes in implementation and delivery of service.
  • In 2017, in partnership with Evidence Action, the authors set out to test the “at scale” effects of an intervention offering seasonal migration subsidies to over 150,000 poor households in rural northern Bangladesh. Previous iterations of the intervention had demonstrated significant success at smaller scales.
  • However, the scale-up of the study in 2017 failed to generate a meaningful effect on seasonal migration. This lack of replication may have been caused by various administrative changes in the programme.
  • The authors make three policy recommendations to improve future scale-ups of such studies.