Tuesday , June 19 2018
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Impact Evaluations

The latest research on firms in Africa: A round-up of the 2018 Annual Bank Conference on Africa

This post is co-authored with Niklas Buehren and Woubet Kassa.  Where possible, we indicate the method (e.g. #RCT).  A legend of the methods can be found at the end.   Keynote David McKenzie talked about the state of research on business training.   He took stock on six issues for this stream of research identified in McKenzie and Woodruff (2013).  We need larger sample sizes:   We are seeing more studies with bigger samples but not for all because this won’t be possible everywhere...

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Weekly links June 15: advice, humanitarian assistance RCTs, power calcs gone wrong, the CDD debate, and more…

An excellent list of links curated by Masa Kudamatsu, on tips for economists, right through from applying to grad schools to becoming chair of department and Dean  (h/t @seema_econ). From Unicef, a set of impact evaluations of humanitarian assistance programs (see papers on the right), including supporting the school participation of Syrian children in Lebanon, food assistance in Mali, and programs in Iraq, Yemen and Niger. On VoxDev, Karlan, Roth and Mullainathan summarize their work on...

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Is grammar holding back efficiency and growth?

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?   According to work by Boroditsky and co-authors, that’s because in German the bridge takes a feminine article and the key takes the masculine.   And, as you may have guessed, the reverse is...

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Writing a Papers and Proceedings Paper

Ok, this is an even more specialized blogpost than usual, but I thought it might still be of use to some readers. I’ve received several variants of the following question from colleagues “I’m excited that my AEA session was accepted for the papers and proceedings. But how do I write a P&P paper without hurting my chances of also publishing the longer paper?” or “but the paper I have in that session is already forthcoming somewhere else, what should I write as the P&P?”.  I thought...

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Weekly links June 8: are negative income taxes toxic, marshmallows and SES, psychometric credit, p-value hate, and more…

The Atlantic summarizes a new replication of the marshmallow test, “the new study finds limited support for the idea that being able to delay gratification leads to better outcomes. Instead, it suggests that the capacity to hold out for a second marshmallow is shaped in large part by a child’s social and economic background—and, in turn, that that background, not the ability to delay gratification, is what’s behind kids’ long-term success” David Evans’ collection of logframes! On the All...

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Want to keep girls in school? Teach them to negotiate.

Across low-income countries, fewer than one in every three girls are enrolled in secondary school. Many interventions to improve girls’ access to school provide cash, such as cash transfers in Malawi or Nepal. But what if girls had better skills to advocate for their own interests? In a recent experiment in Zambia, Nava Ashraf, Natalie Bau, Corinne Low, and Kathleen McGinn tested what happens when adolescent girls receive negotiation training. The results are documented in their paper,...

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Weekly links June 1: moral quandaries, plunging response rates, business aspirations, an attempt to revive blogging, and more…

On project syndicate – “Shouldn’t economists ask themselves whether it is morally justifiable to provide even strictly technical advice to self-dealing, corrupt, or undemocratic governments?” On Let’s Talk Development, Dan Rogger summarizes some of the latest systems research on the quality of governance; and Bilal Zia summarizes his new paper on how business aspirations are correlated with better small firm outcomes in the cross-section and short panel. VoxEU has a new “blogs &...

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Too poor to save?

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 to a recent paper by Pascaline Dupas, Dean Karlan, Jonathan Robinson, and Diego Ubfal: not so fast.   Dupas and co. set up a very nice experiment to get some...

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Five small things I’ve learned recently

As a change from my usual posts, I thought I’d note five small things I’ve learned recently, mostly to do with Stata, with the hope that they might help others, or at least jog my memory when I unlearn them again soon.1.Stata’s random number generator has a limit on the seed that you can set of 2,147,483,647. Why did I learn this? We were doing a live random assignment for an impact evaluation I am starting in Colombia. We had programmed up the code, and tested it several times, with it...

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Weekly links May 25: tips for saying no, three stories on the media and development, cricket as a development policy? And more…

NBER Summer institute development economics program and labor studies program. The map of “Manuscript-Earth” featuring  “The pit of you saved those files, right? Right?”, “confused about the big picture woods”, “The island of misfit results” and other glorious landmarks (h/t Dave Evans). Do you say “no” enough to new projects? Anton Pottegard has a nice poster of 8 practical tools to assist in saying no – including JOMO (joy of missing out) – “once a project is turned down, set time aside...

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