Because this originally came from “G”, who seems anxious to get broad distribution, I’m going to channel this entire Marginal Revolution post. http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/05/update-on-the-millennium-villages-controversy.html#comment-157588523
G., a loyal MR reader, writes to me:
I imagine you may find this interesting…
The retraction on the MVP website: http://www.millenniumvillages.org/field-notes/millennium-villages-project-corrects-lancet-paper
The retraction in the Lancet:
…from the Lancet editors…http://download.thelancet.com/flatcontentassets/pdfs/S0140673612607879.pdf
The essence of this (from the first blog post) is two basic errors in applied statistical research.
The first involves not being able to count. If there is a 5 year base period and a 3 year post period, the average time for the evaluation is 4 years (-2.5 to +1.5), not 3 years. So, the total amount of decline is only 3/4 as high, to oversimplify slightly.
The second involves a false comparison group. The comparison is with trends earlier in the decade, not the current trends (which are improving overall, not just in the Millenium Village test area – perhaps due to antimalerial procedures being implemented overall.)
The net is that the infant mortality is basically equal (maybe a bit higher) in the Millenium Village test areas.
when we correct for a mathematical error and use more recent comparison data, we find that under-5 mortality has fallen at just 5.9% per year at MVP sites, which is slower than the 6.4% average annual decline in under-5 child mortality in the MVP countries nationwide.