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Impact Evaluations

Weekly links May 10: why CCTs aren’t enforced before elections, when evidence isn’t used, digitalizing data, and more…

On Let’s Talk Development, results from tax compliance trials in Kosovo show some small increases from reminders, but also highlight the challenges of implementation, with many people not receiving their assigned treatment (e.g. half the letters not making it to recipients, less than one-quarter of emails opened). The CSAE coder’s corner has Meredith Paker sharing her lessons on how to digitalize a dataset using your phone. IDinsight has launched a new blog. Dan Stein writes on when...

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Labor Data and Quantity/Quality Tradeoffs

In their new paper on fast internet and employment in Africa, Jonas Hjort and Jonas Poulsen examine the impact of submarine internet cables on employment outcomes in several African countries. They report differences-in-differences estimates, exploiting the gradual arrival of the cables along the coast of Africa. (David noted this work in his Weekly links March 29.) In addition to the compelling topic of the paper, what drew my eye to this work was the use of the Demographic and Health...

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A different take on “Targeting the Ultra-Poor” programs

Almost exactly four years ago, I wrote a blog post, titled “Poverty Reduction: Sorting Through the Hype,” which described the paper by Banerjee et al. (2015) in Science on the impacts of the ultra-poor graduation approach, originally associated with BRAC in Bangladesh, in six countries. Now comes a new paper by Naila Kabeer, which reports the findings from a qualitative evaluation, which was conducted in two of the six study sites. The paper aims to provide a different perspective to the RCT...

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Weekly links May 3: reducing survey non-response or perhaps it is ok, s-values, an award for incentives, and more…

On the data blog, Nethra Palaniswamy and Tara Vishwanath ask whether survey non-responses rates are doomed to fall as countries get richer – and explain how this need not be the case, based on their work in Jordan if surveys adapt. They reduced non-response rates in the household income and expenditure survey from a rate of around 43% in 2011, to only 5% in the 2017/18 version. On the other hand, in the Evaluation Review, an article by Hendra and Hill (2018) provocatively argues that there...

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Gender bias and getting grants

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 Julian Kolev, Yuly Fuentes-Medel, and Fiona Murray looks at how we can still get gendered outcomes, even with a blind review process.   Let’s start with the data.  Kolev and co. have...

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Capturing cost data: a first-mile problem

Before we bought our house, my husband and I knew the price. The real estate agent wasn’t allowed to give us a back-of-the-envelope estimate right at the end of the process. She wasn't allowed to just declare that the house was low cost, affordable, or sustainable for our budget. We knew the exact price of each house she showed us, not just how many bedrooms each had, what the walls were made of, or the quality of the public schools in the neighborhood. There are even laws that stipulate how...

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Weekly links April 26: Submissions fees coming to a journal near you, recursive rankings, business mentoring, stop your workers quitting by letting them complain, and more…

Are submissions fees likely to be coming to more journals? The Royal Economic Society newsletter has the Economic Journal’s editor’s report. As with my post on development journals, it notes that submissions continue to rise and acceptance rates fall (it had 1,770 submissions and an acceptance rate below 5% in 2018). The report notes that Plan S (an initiative for open access publication, whereby a lot of funders, mostly from Europe, require their funded research to be published in open...

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The promise and limitations of cash transfers to adolescent females

When you have to redo your literature review for a “revise and resubmit,” you know two things: first, the publishing process in economics is slow, and second, the evidence is accumulating fast in your subject matter. The former is what it is and the latter is good. Into the rapidly growing literature regarding the effects of cash transfers on sustained human capital accumulation for adolescent females comes this paper by Baird, McIntosh, and Özler (forthcoming in the Journal of Development...

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Friday Links: wage penalty, #LookLikeAnEconomist, detention vs meditation, #Rstats, #GitHub, jobs …

And now for some Friday links ...  Nice roundup on the wage penalty for mothers vs fathers across 6 OECD economies in the Economist (hint: it’s really large, and correlates well with population-wide attitudes towards mothers who work; RT @piza_caio). #LookLikeAnEconomist: some great news on that front, the next PhD cohort at UC Berkeley is 50% female! (RT @MarthaOlney). Some links to Women in Econ conferences The Women in Econ Research #WiEr2019 conference is on April 20 (short notice!)...

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Humans of Field Work

Enumerators play a crucial role in the success of field-based impact evaluations. Despite the central role they play in the research process, enumerators are rarely in the spotlight. We recently interviewed a few Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) enumerators working with us on a high-frequency market survey in Rwanda in the context of a rural feeder road upgrading project. We hand-picked three of these interviews for this post. We were particularly keen on learning how they came to...

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