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Impact Evaluations

Weekly links July 27: Advances in RD, better measurement, lowering prices for poop removal, and more…

Matias Cattaneo and co-authors have a draft manuscript on “a practical guide to regression discontinuity designs: volume II”. This includes discussion of a lot of practical issues that can arise, such as dealing with discrete values of the running variable, multiple running variables, and geographic RDs. Stata and R code are provided throughout. Great Planet Money podcast on the Poop Cartel – work Molly Lipscomb and co-authors are doing to lower prices for emptying toilets in Senegal. A...

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More on Experimenter Demand Effects

After my post on experimenter demand effects on Monday, several readers kindly informed me of a paper on experimenter demand effects forthcoming in the AER (ungated version, 73-page appendix) by de Quidt, Haushofer and Roth. Like the Mummolo and Peterson paper I blogged about then, de Quidt et al. propose a way to construct bounds on experimenter demand effects by seeking to induce this demand. Since they offer some more evidence on the issue, I thought I’d also briefly summarize what they...

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Assessing the Severity of Experimenter Demand/Social Desirability Effects

Many impact evaluations rely on survey data collected from program participants to measure key outcomes. Examples include measuring the profits and sales of informal businesses, gender attitudes, study habits, job search behavior, etc. A key concern is then that participants tell you what they think you want to hear – which is known as social desirability bias, or, when this behavior changes with treatment, is called experimenter demand effects. The typical approaches to dealing with this...

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Friday Links: July 20th. Rethinking big numbers, visualizing data, and more

  Over at Future Development a gently cantankerous Jishnu Das takes on the big numbers politicians use and their insidious effects...will all research become fake news?      Trying to figure out what is the right way to represent your data?  Check out the decision tree at data to viz.     And over at the New York Times, Seema Jayachandran takes us through the literature on poverty alleviation and aspirations.      It's Friday and the folks over at DIME are hiring.   Seeking a...

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Are we over-investing in baselines?

  When I was in second grade, I was in a Catholic school, and we had to buy the pencils and pens that we used at school from a supply closet. One day I felt like getting new pencils, so I stood in line when the supply closet was open and asked for two. Before reaching for the pencils, the person who operated the supply closet, Sister Evangelista, told me a story about her time volunteering in Haiti, how the children she taught there used to scramble about in garbage heaps looking for...

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Weekly links July 13th….Friday the 13th

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 signs of the use of evidence in RFPs from a large aid agency.    Just don't look under the bed:  On Goats and Soda, a nice piece on Banerjee et. al's work on using postcards to reduce...

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Can information reduce anti-immigration biases?

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 killing you on the answer, you can skip to somewhere below.   But if not, this question, and why so many people get it wrong, how it relates to information, and if information can offset it,...

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

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 interventions. This is the rationale behind the increasing use of impact evaluations: they can isolate and measure the effect of an...

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