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September, 2016

October, 2015

  • 22 October

    Weekly links October 23: popularizing research, partial identification, celebrating ideas-led growth, and more…

    Berk Ozler Senior Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank David McKenzie Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank Markus Goldstein Lead Economist, Africa Region and Research Group, World Bank David Evans Senior Economist Development Impact Guest Blogger Guest bloggers

  • 19 October

    Exporting on eBay: The Impact of Lowering the Hassle Costs of Exporting

    Getting more firms to export is a policy goal in many countries around the world. However, the trade literature has not had very many well-identified evaluations of policy interventions that facilitate exports (a notable exception being work by Atkin et al in Egypt). So I thought it would be useful to share the results of a recent experiment by Xiang Hui making it easier for sellers to export on eBay.Sellers on ebay can choose whether to offer an item for sale only to U.S. buyers, or to also make it available for international buyers (export). If they wish to sell internationally, then they need to figure out the customs and shipping process for foreign destinations.eBay introduced a new program called the Global Shipping Program (GSP) to reduce the hassle of selling abroad. Sellers participating in this program simply ship the items to a U.S. shipping center in Kentucky. A third-party company then makes sure the items are intact, and handles the whole exporting process from then, preparing the necessary customs forms, sending importing charges that have been pre-paid by buyers, and choosing a shipping service with tracking and insurance. It is free for sellers to use, and costs no more for buyers, with the third party making its money from bulk processing of these transactions.

  • 16 October

    Weekly links October 16: business plan press, Deaton, policies for a better-fed world, and more…

    Weekly links October 16: business plan press, Deaton, policies for a better-fed world, and more… | Impact Evaluations Dan Kopf at Priceonomics does a very thorough and excellent job discussing the YouWin! business plan competition I evaluated, including quotes from Michael Wong who helped set up the program, examples of success stories, and what the critics say. In the Financial Times, Tim Harford also covers the just give cash evidence, including Dave Evan’s work on whether cash grants go to alcohol and tobacco, Chris Blattman’s work in Liberian slums, and the Nigerian business plan competition. In light of Angus Deaton’s Nobel Prize, great reminder from Karthik that Deaton’s The Analysis of Household Surveys is available as a free download from the World Bank.

  • 14 October

    What is the return on adult education? Evidence from India

    There are roughly 781 million illiterate adults in the world (and that’s probably an underestimate), according to UNESCO. Yet we know vanishingly little about how to reduce adult illiteracy. From a look at citations in recent papers and a quick search, I find 7 studies that estimate the impact of adult literacy programs on adult literacy in the last 25 years: One in Kenya (1990), one in Venezuela (2008), one in Ghana in 2005, and another in Ghana in 2011 (ungated), one in Niger (2015), and one in India (2015). There is one more from Niger that compares two alternative modes of delivering adult education, but without a pure control group (2012). Of those 7, the latter three (Niger, Niger, and India) are randomized controlled trials, two more use regression analysis, and two others present simple summary statistics (either a simple before-after, or a comparison with a comparison group identified ex post).Compare that with the 177 studies on the effectiveness of learning interventions in primary education that Popova and I recently identified (and that number has grown since). There’s so little evidence that adult literacy doesn’t even merit inclusion in 3ie’s Education Evidence Gap Map, which targets only primary and secondary interventions. The whole field is an ocean of gaps with 7 islets of evidence.

  • 9 October

    Weekly links October 9: the next step in transparency? Minimum wages in Africa, pirates, and more…

    Berk Ozler Senior Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank David McKenzie Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank Markus Goldstein Lead Economist, Africa Region and Research Group, World Bank David Evans Senior Economist Development Impact Guest Blogger Guest bloggers

  • 1 October

    Weekly links October 2: IV-bashing, the verdict on cash, we are hiring, opening lines, and more…

    Berk Ozler Senior Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank David McKenzie Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank Markus Goldstein Lead Economist, Africa Region and Research Group, World Bank David Evans Senior Economist Development Impact Guest Blogger Guest bloggers