The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Social Security Pension are two of the largest employment programmes in Andhra Pradesh. Muralidharan and colleagues (2016) investigated the impacts of biometrically-authenticated payment infrastructure (Smartcards) on beneficiaries of the two employment programmes. Using a large-scale randomised experiment, the original study finds that Smartcards decrease the time lag for recipients to receive funds, reduce leakages of benefits (i.e. corruption) and increase enrolment rates in the two programmes.
The replication authors provide additional analysis on the potential returns from government investment in technological infrastructure to improve public service delivery, effectively disburse payments and achieve better welfare outcomes. They used push-button and pure replications that reproduced results without modifying the data, models and codes provided by the original authors. The replication researchers performed additional robustness checks in their measurement and estimation analysis. They also explored additional hypotheses in their theory of change to identify moderating factors that contribute to the heterogeneous effects of biometric Smartcards in India. Overall, the replication study confirmed that the gains from state capacity investment are worthwhile for policymakers’ consideration.
The authors of this paper replicated a landmark study by Hayes and colleagues (2019) on the HPTN 071 (PoPART) trial, which examined if a universal test and treatment program, along with a combination prevention intervention, could reduce HIV incidence in Zambia and South Africa.
Eric Djimeu and Eleanor G Dickens conduct a replication of the HPTN 052 study by Cohen and colleagues that evaluates the impact of early initiation of antiretroviral therapy on rates of sexual transmission of HIV-1.
This replication study starts with the twin strategies of push-button and pure replications of the original study. It then followed this up with various consistency and
robustness checks, such as propensity score matching and the Tobit model specification.
Maira Reimão conducted a replication of a 2011 study, Cash or condition? Evidence from a cash transfer experiment, by Baird and colleagues, which is one of the few studies that empirically compares the impact of unconditional cash transfers to that of conditional cash transfers.