More complex than BACI design, but you may not need as much information as you think
At the recent ICCB in Baltimore, I was lucky enough to score a place in the “Environmental impact evaluation and causal inference” workshop run by Paul Ferraro and Merlin Hanauer. I would highly recommend everyone working in conservation related fields to explore this field. Two of the main conclusions that I got out of this course were that: a) once again, my undergraduate education was flawed: before-after control-impact (BACI) is NOT the epitome of experimental design, particularly in the case of conservation impact evaluation, and b) to provide policy relevant information you may not need as much data as you think.
We’ve all heard the calls for evidence based environmental policy, and recognize the relative paucity of studies that evaluate conservation intervention effectiveness. Many have the common belief that the data for such evaluations is simply not available, often due to time and financial constraints as much as lack of motivation or will. Yet this belief may be constructed under false pretenses, a result of having BACI design celebrated so religiously through our undergraduate training. The field of causal inference and impact evaluation has long moved on.
Identifying causal effects
“Correlation does not imply causation and lack of correlation does not imply lack of causation.”
To identify causal effects we are really trying to eliminate rival explanations Continue reading Using causal inference in environmental impact evaluation