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When launching the Laterite Lab, we set as a first objective to develop and publish a new concept that would contribute to thinking on impact evaluation and that we could easily develop into a practical tool for our project work.

The concept we ended up with is called Proximity Controls. It is a quick and easy way to construct a control region to measure the impact of an intervention or event with aggregate levels effects (e.g. at the country/province levels).

Our paper introducing the concept, called “Export Similarity and Proximity Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies”, was published this month in the Journal of Globalization and Development.

You can download the paper here: Gathani and Stoelinga _ Export Similarity Networks and Proximity Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies _ Published version.

We’d like to say a special thank you to Ricardo Hausmann for motivating us to submit this work, to Cesar Hidalgo for his encouragement and ideas (his work has been a huge inspiration for Laterite), and to Miguel Almunia, Rupert Simons, Jon Argent and Michele Savini for all their advice.

If you’re interested in this topic, you can also read our application of the Proximity Control methodology to the case of the impact of One-Stop-Shops for licencing on new business creation in Rwanda and another 11 countries. This paper will be launched in a couple of weeks at the MPSA Conference in Chicago.

The Journal of Globalization and Development (JGD) publishes academic research and policy analysis on globalization, development, and in particular the complex interactions between them. The journal is dedicated to stimulating a creative dialogue between theoretical advances and rigorous empirical studies to push forward the frontiers of development analysis. It also seeks to combine innovative academic insights with the in-depth knowledge of practitioners to address important policy issues. JGD encourages diverse perspectives on all aspects of development and globalization, and attempts to integrate the best development research from across different fields with contributions from scholars in developing and developed countries