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Markus Goldstein

Markus Goldstein

Markus Goldstein is a development economist with experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and South Asia. He is currently the Gender Practice Leader in the Africa Region and a Lead Economist in the Research Group of the World Bank. His current research centers on issues of gender and economic activity, focusing on agriculture and small scale enterprises. He is currently involved in a number of impact evaluations on these topics across Africa. Markus has taught at the London School of Economics, the University of Ghana, Legon, and Georgetown University. He holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

Articles by Markus Goldstein

Gender bias and getting grants

May 1, 2019

A little while back, I blogged about a paper that traced the effects of having a gendered language through to the labor market outcomes of today.   Today, I am writing about a much more narrower version of this problem – and one near and dear to researcher hearts: grant applications.   A fascinating new paper by …

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Reducing intimate partner violence through edutainment

April 3, 2019

When I started working on HIV, behavior change campaigns were quite in vogue.   The idea was if you bombarded folks with enough information, maybe even made them watch a movie or two, they would get the message and change their behavior.   Then some folks got creative and thought about adding community theater or radio plays …

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Do conditional cash transfers empower women?

March 6, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about a new approach to measuring within household decision making.   Continuing in that vein, I was recently reading a paper (ungated version here) by Almas, Armand, Attanasio, and Carneiro which offers a really neat way to look at bargaining power within the household.     But before I get …

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Unpacking within household interactions: the roles people take

February 21, 2019

Some of us often try to understand how households may be functioning by using intrahousehold decision making questions.   For example, the multi country Demographic and Health Surveys often ask who makes decisions on large household purchase: the male, the female or the two together.    The idea is that this kind of question helps us understand …

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Changing gender attitudes, one teenager at a time

January 9, 2019

I’ve been trying to figure out how to get my kids to do more household chores.   Luckily, help was forthcoming from a recent paper by Diva Dhar, Tarun Jain, and Seema Jayachandran.   They take to Indian secondary schools with an intervention designed to increase support for gender equality among adolescents.   And yes,  it does work, …

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Some advice from survey implementers: Part 2

October 23, 2018

This is part 2 of a two part blog on what survey implementers would tell the researchers and others who work with them (part one is here).   Before we dive in, I want to reiterate my thank to the folks at EDI and IPA, as well as James Mewera of the Invest in Knowledge Initiative, …

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Some advice from survey implementers: Part 1

October 17, 2018

I have often wondered what the folks who do the surveys I use in my research think of how it is to work with me.   Since I wasn’t sure I had the courage to hear that straight to my face, I wrote to a number of survey folks I knew (and thought highly of) or …

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Why does my daughter think she’s bad at math?

October 3, 2018

My daughter thinks math is hard.  She also thinks she is not good at it.  She is, by some set of objective measures, actually quite good at it.   But she keeps repeating this mantra to me when we are sitting there slogging through her homework.   I tried all kind of positive reinforcement and then, one …

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Pensions and living with your kids

September 6, 2018

When a government implements a policy, there is often a question about how it will interact and/or displace existing informal practices.    For example, awhile back there was a lot of discussion around how government provided insurance would displace (or not) informal risk sharing arrangements that may have been doing a good job of protecting some …

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Weekly links July 13th….Friday the 13th

July 12, 2018

And here are the weekly links for your Friday the thirteenth:   Don’t be afraid, we’re just hiring:   DIME is looking for a field coordinator based in Peru, and two research assistants based in Washing (position one and two).   Was that a whisper I heard?  Over at the CGD Blog, Sarah Rose goes hunting for …

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Can information reduce anti-immigration biases?

July 11, 2018

Let’s start with a little quiz.   Grab a piece of paper and pencil.   What’s the share of legal immigrants in the US population? (or you can choose the Germany, UK, Italy, Sweden or France).  A legal immigrant is defined as someone living legally in the country and born abroad.    OK.  If the suspense is …

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Is grammar holding back efficiency and growth?

June 13, 2018

Ask a German to describe a bridge, and they are likely to use words like beautiful and elegant.   Ask a Spanish speaker, and they will use words like big and dangerous.   Now, ask them to describe a key.  The German will say hard and heavy while the Spanish speaker will say lovely and intricate.    Why?   …

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Too poor to save?

May 31, 2018

Across developing countries, only 63 percent of adults have a bank account, according to our friends over at the Findex.  And we’ve seen a couple of papers with targeted populations that suggest savings vehicles could be good for some development outcomes.   So is it time for a big push on banking the unbanked?     According …

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Informing policy with research that is more than the sum of the parts

May 16, 2018

Coauthored with Doug Parkenson A couple of years ago, an influential paper in Science by Banerjee and coauthors looked at the impact of poverty graduation programs across 6 countries.   At the time (and probably since) this was the largest effort to look at the same(ish) intervention in multiple contexts at once – arguably solving the …

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The history of randomized control trials: scurvy, poets and beer

April 18, 2018

The other night I was reading Julian Jamison’s well written and intriguing recent paper: “The Entry of Randomized Assignment into the Social Sciences,” which plumbs history to understand where it is that RCTs come from.      The ideas start with the title.   Julian draws a distinction between random assignment and random allocation.   Random assignment …

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The latest research in economics on Africa: The CSAE round-up

March 21, 2018

This post was coauthored with Niklas Buehren, Joao Montalvao, Sreelakshmi Papineni, and Fei Yuan.   This team couldn’t attend all 106 sessions so coverage is limited.  If there is a paper you saw that you think people should know about please submit a comment.   Agriculture Offering farmers harvest time loans increase grain storage to arbitrage price …

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What works to reduce child marriage?

February 7, 2018

Child marriage, despite being against the law in a lot of places, is still fairly common.   One estimate, cited in a new paper by Nina Buchmann, Erica Field, Rachel Glennerster, Shahana Nazneen, Svetlana Pimkina, and Iman Sen, figures there will be 142 million new child brides between 2011-2020.     So what might a policymaker do?  …

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How hard are they working?

November 1, 2017

I was at a conference a couple of years ago and a senior colleague, one who I deeply respect, summarized the conversation as: “our labor data are crap.”   I think he meant that we have a general problem when looking at labor productivity (for agriculture in this case) both in terms of the heroic recall …

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Vocational training vs. apprenticeships: A Ugandan showdown

October 4, 2017

Youth employment is a significant and pressing development issue.  But it’s not clear what governments can do.   There have been several metareviews of active labor market policies, including a recent one by David, and they’re fairly depressing – showing not much impact at all.    Into this fray, however, comes a new paper by Livia Alfonsi, …

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A better way to train small business owners: using psychology to teach personal initiative

September 21, 2017

Billions of dollars have been spent by governments, microfinance organizations, and NGOs on training small businesses. Traditional training programs typically aim to teach owners to use better business practices such as record-keeping, stock control, and simple marketing. But while employing more of these practices does seem to improve firm performance, most attempts to train firm …

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Worker productivity and soft skills

September 7, 2017

There’s a lot of talk about soft skills and how they might help boost productivity and earnings.    Into this literature comes a neat new paper by Achyuta Adhvaryu, Namrata Kala, and Anant Nyshadham which looks at the returns to providing training on these skills for factory workers in India.   They provide a convincing case that …

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Biased women in the I(C)T crowd

July 26, 2017

This post is coauthored with Alaka Holla The rigorous evidence on vocational training programs is, at best, mixed.   For example, Markus recently blogged about some work looking at long term impacts of job training in the Dominican Republic.   In that paper, the authors find no impact on overall employment, but they do find a change …

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