Sunday , February 17 2019
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Impact Evaluations

Weekly links February 15: time to change your research production function? Hurray for big retailers and big data, but watch out for dynamic responses, and more….

This is the best thing I’ve read all week, particularly because it contrasts so much what my usual workflow looks like with what I would like more of it to look like – Cal Newport (of Deep Work fame) asks in the Chronicle Review “is email is making professors stupid?”. He notes that in the modern environment professors/researchers act more like middle managers than monks and suggests reforms to significantly restructure work culture to provide professors more uninterrupted time for thinking...

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The Latest Evidence on Gender and Development

A new collection of papers – Towards Gender Equity in Development – sets out to “explore key sources of female empowerment and discuss the current challenges and opportunities for the future” in three categories: marriage, outside options, and laws and cultural norms. The final published book is available for free, and the individual chapters are available as working papers. In the introduction, Anderson, Beaman, and Platteau discuss the current landscape of gender discrimination in low- and...

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Men at Work: Shhh!

“Who can it be now?” I turn my head around from my seat at the seminar table to see who it is this time that has interrupted the seminar speaker for the Nth time before she even got through her introductory slides: it was a man, of course.  A lot of people at econ seminars get annoyed at questions that would have been answered naturally had the audience just been patient enough to wait for, sometimes literally, another slide; the back and forth that sometimes ensues between a questioner and...

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Weekly links February 8: some people still like knowledge, be passionate about it, you don’t always need to make policy recommendations, and more…

Rachel Glennerster on lessons from a year as DFID’s Chief Economist, including the importance of knowledge work “As countries get richer, helping them spend their own money more effectively will become a more important route to reducing poverty than the UK directly paying for services” Seema Jayachandran and Ben Olken offer their thoughts on new exciting areas in development research and advice for young development researchers: “taking the time to actually immerse yourself in the...

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7 types of policy makers and what they mean for getting your research used

So you are out there with some results on a program that works and you really want to get your research used. And you’ve managed to schedule a meeting with a policy maker who is in a position to actually use your work. Maybe they even called you. As you start to discuss things with them, one key thing to think about is what that policy maker is looking for. Based on my experiences with this, there are seven types of policy makers, and knowing your counterpart’s type might be helpful in...

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Tools of the trade: Using iemargins to graph impacts with standard error bars (IE Analytics update)

It’s been nearly 5 years since David McKenzie showed us how to add standard error bars to Stata mean estimation comparing treatment and control groups. A recent reader email wrote to suggest that this how-to was due for an update, so here it is.   The request is for being able to graphically compare means of the different treatment groups in Stata, with the option to account for common regression adjustments including control variables, clustered standard errors, and strata fixed effects.  ...

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Weekly links Feb 1: g big data, scaling up CCTs, “the data have been mined, of course”, and more…

Working with big datasets in Stata? Then the package gtools might be for you – I love that they have to give the caveat “Due to a Stata bug, gtools cannot support more than 2^31-1 (2.1 billion) observations”. Meanwhile, the Stata blog has the second post on doing power calculations via simulations in Stata. More on industrial policy: A nice summary at VoxDev by Ernest Liu of his work on industrial policies in networks, and a reason to prioritize upstream sectors. New SIEF note on using...

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Successful Teachers, Successful Students: A New Approach Paper on Teachers

Teachers are crucial to the learning process. Every year, we get new evidence from a new country on how much value an effective teacher adds. This is one area where the evidence lines up with intuition: Even without a bunch of value added measures, most of us would readily admit that without good teachers, we wouldn’t be where we are today.  We’ve both done some research on teachers – Tara with her work on managing the teacher workforce in India, Dave with his work on teacher...

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Sex, Lies, and Measurement: Do Indirect Response Survey Methods Work? (No…)

Smart people, mainly with good reason, like to make statements like “Measure what is important, don’t make important what you can measure,” or “Measure what we treasure and not treasure what we measure.” It is rumored that even Einstein weighed in on this by saying: “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.” A variant of this has also become a rallying cry among those who are “anti-randomista,” to agitate against focusing research only on...

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Weekly links January 25: Doing SMS surveys, a Deaton classic re-released, upcoming conferences, coding tips, and more…

Recommendations for conducting SMS surveys from the Busara Center, who “sent a one-time mobile SMS survey to 3,489 Kenyans familiar with SMS surveys and to 6,279 not familiar. Each sample was randomized into one of 54 cross-cutting treatment combinations with variation across several dimensions: incentive amounts, pre-survey communication, survey lengths, and content variation” include keep mobile surveys to 5 questions or provide higher incentives; randomize questions and response options;...

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