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Development Impact Guest Blogger

Articles by Development Impact Guest Blogger

Complements or Substitutes? State Presence and the Power of Traditional Leaders — Guest post by Soeren J. Henn

December 14, 2018

This is the twentieth in this year’s series of posts by PhD students on the job market. When we study how institutions affect development, we often focus on the characteristics of national institutions, such as whether a country is democratic, protects property rights, or has inclusive institutions. Yet villages in many developing countries contain almost no trace of …

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Do Sociable or Higher-Achieving Peers Matter? Guest post by Román Andrés Zárate

December 13, 2018

While sociable peers increase your social skills, higher-achieving peers do not improve your academic performance. That is the main conclusion of my job market paper.   As the world bends closer towards automation, social skills take a lead role on individuals’ well-being and labor market success. According to Deming (2017), between 1980 and 2012, jobs …

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Good Fathers & Lemon Sons: Why Political Dynasties Cause “Reversals of Fortune” — Guest post by Siddharth George

December 11, 2018

Aquinos, Bhuttos, Trudeaus, Yudhoyonos, Gandhis, Lees, Fujimoris: political dynasties remain ubiquitous in democratic countries.  Though many societies democratised to end hereditary rule, nearly half of democratic countries have elected multiple heads of state from a single family.  Politics is significantly more dynastic than other occupations in democratic societies.  Individuals are, on average, five times more …

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Land: Trap or Opportunity for the Rural Poor? Guest post by Juan Sebastián Galán

December 6, 2018

Across the developing world, providing land through agrarian reform has been a popular strategy for expanding economic opportunities among the rural poor. Its use is commonly debated in several developing countries, including South Africa, China, India and many others in Latin America. A widely held view against providing land is that it traps recipient families …

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FinTech Adoption and its Spillovers. Guest post by Sean Higgins

December 6, 2018

During my last trip to Mexico, I bought tamales from a street vendor and paid by card—something that would have been impossible not long ago. The vendor, who had a Bluetooth card reader connected to his cell phone, told me that his potential customers are not always carrying cash, and as a result, accepting card …

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The Perils of Being a Firstborn Child Amidst Forest Cover Loss in Indonesia: Guest post by Averi Chakrabarti

December 5, 2018

This is the thirteenth in this year’s series of posts by PhD students on the job market. Our planet is currently experiencing substantial environmental degradation. The resulting depletion of resources and climate change patterns endanger the prospects for human life on earth in the long run, but there are often detrimental consequences that materialize sooner. While governments might …

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Same Sex Marriage, Employment and Discrimination. Guest post by Dario Sansone

November 29, 2018

Progress towards marriage equality within the U.S. has been extremely rapid in the last twenty years. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage (SSM). Following its example, more and more states introduced SSM until the final ruling in 2015 of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized SSM at …

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Do Knowledge and Income Have Synergistic and Distributional Effects on Preventing Child Undernutrition? Guest Post by Seollee Park

November 28, 2018

This is the eighth in this year’s series of posts by PhD students on the job market. High rates of stunting in many developing countries pose important health threats to young children and lead to adverse later-life outcomes. Many nutrition-specific interventions that target a single dimension of causes of child undernutrition have often found limited effects. This generates …

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Fighting Poverty with Cash Transfers: Do Conditions Improve Targeting?

November 27, 2018

Conditional cash transfers (CCTs), cash transfers targeted to poor households made conditional on investments in children’s human capital, have become increasingly popular over the past two decades (Bastagli et al, 2016). However, CCTs have been criticized as some argue that the poorest households may find the conditions too costly to comply with and thus be …

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Evaluating the contact hypothesis in an authoritarian society: can visits by democratic neighbors increase support for democracy? Guest post by Andreas Stegmann

November 21, 2018

This is the fifth in this year’s series of posts by PhD students on the job market. How should democratic governments interact with their authoritarian counterparts? The options include initiating a trade war or facilitating access to foreign media. Throughout history, a number of democratic governments have focused on engagement policies, specifically on promoting more interactions between citizens …

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Lessons from a cash benchmarking evaluation: Authors’ version

September 14, 2018

This is a guest post by Craig McIntosh and Andrew Zeitlin. We are grateful to have this chance to speak about our experiences with USAID’s pilot of benchmarking its traditional development assistance using unconditional cash transfers. Along with the companion benchmarking study that is still in the field (that one comparing a youth workforce readiness …

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Declaring and diagnosing research designs

September 10, 2018

This is a guest post by Graeme Blair, Jasper Cooper, Alex Coppock, and Macartan Humphreys Empirical social scientists spend a lot of time trying to develop really good research designs and then trying to convince readers and reviewers that their designs really are good. We think the challenges of generating and communicating designs are made harder …

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Can impact evaluations help deliver projects? Guest post by Anna Crespo

July 9, 2018

Anna Crespo is an Economist Senior Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Office of Evaluation and Oversight   Development agencies are in a privileged position to encourage a better understanding of the results of programs and the channels through which those results are better obtained. This, in turn, improves their own ability to sponsor effective …

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GiveDirectly Three-Year Impacts, Explained by the Authors

April 20, 2018

This is a guest post by Johannes Haushofer and Jeremy Shapiro We’re glad our paper evaluating the long-term impacts of cash transfers has been discussed by GiveDirectly (the source of the transfers) itself and Berk Özler at the World Bank, among others. Given the different perspectives put forth, we wanted to share a few clarifications …

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IE Analytics: Introducing the Development Impact Evaluation Wiki

April 9, 2018

This is a guest post by Maria Jones & Benjamin Daniels. Please see for more on the DIME Wiki. In 1996, a time so long ago we can’t find the original speech online, then-President James Wolfensohn argued that the World Bank should henceforth become “the Knowledge Bank”. Five years later, when it wasn’t yet …

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What do we measure when we measure food consumption?

January 24, 2018

guest post by John Gibson and Alberto Zezza A key theme of this blog is measurement. As Jed argued in an early post on the subject, “one of the most fundamental welfare constructs in economics” is consumption and “accurate consumption measurement has been a long standing challenge for applied work”. A recently published special issue …

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The Earlier the Better? Timing and Type of Investments to Mitigate Early-Life Shocks: Guest post by Valentina Duque

December 18, 2017

This is the seventeenth, and penultimate, of this year’s job market series.  Research question and motivation  That early-life events can affect adult outcomes is now well established. Lifelong health, education, and wages are all shaped by events of the in-utero and early-childhood environments (Barker 1992; Cunha and Heckman, 2007; Almond et al., 2017). To the extent that …

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