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development impact links

Weekly links June 29: cash does more good things, interpreting IHS, technical assistance to banks increased credit, and more...

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Weekly links June 22: which countries are overrepresented in IEs? How many IEs have data available to replicate them? Mobile savings, and more...

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  • In the Harvard Business Review, Blumenstock, Callen and Ghani summarize their work on using nudges to get government employees to save using mobile money in Afghanistan – “Over six months, the average employee who was enrolled to save by default accumulated an extra half-month’s salary in his or her savings account, relative to employees who had to opt in”
  • An intro to R for Stata users
  • The promise and perils of listening to parents – Sharon Wolf on ongoing efforts in Ghana to improve pre-school quality, and how trying to bring parents onboard backfired.
  • In the Journal of Development Effectiveness, Sabet and Brown track the continued growth of development impact evaluations: “Though we find early evidence of a plateau in the growth rate of development impact evaluations, the number of studies published between January 2010 and September 2015 account for almost two thirds of the total evidence base”. Lots of other interesting facts, including 45% of all impact evaluations occurred in just 10 countries, with Kenya and Uganda having the most impact evaluations per million population, and Sub-Saharan Africa the most commonly represented region – perhaps something for donors to think about...

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

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

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  • 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 About Finance blog, Claudia Ruiz and co-authors summarize their work in Peru on using psychometric scoring to extend credit to SMEs – using a regression discontinuity.
  • Sylvain Chabé-Ferret hates p-values so much he is writing 6 blog posts about it (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4, others to come). I particularly recommend post 4, which has a nice illustration of the point that when samples are small, if you find a statistically significant effect, it is heavily biased: in his simulation “With N=100, the estimates that are statistically different from zero at the 5% level are 2 to 2.5 bigger than the true effect”.

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

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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...

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  • 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 to actively ponder about how happy you are not to be doing it” (h/t Scott Cunningham).

Weekly links May 18: P&P highlights galore, basic management vs grand strategy, can you SMS your way to social linkages, and more...

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Weekly links May 11: more on shift-share instruments, updated balance tables, measuring height with photos, and more...

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Weekly links May 4: has your study been abducted? Noisy risk preferences, why we should be cautious extrapolating climate change and growth estimates, and more...

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  • Excellent tradetalks podcast with Dave Donaldson has a detailed discussion with him on his work looking at the impact of railroads on development in India and in U.S. economic history.
  • The latest Journal of Economic Perspectives includes:
    •  Acemoglu provides a summary of Donaldson’s work that led to him receiving the Bates Clark medal
    • Several papers on risk preferences, including discussion of whether risk preferences are stable and how to think about them if they are not (interesting sidenote in this is a comment on how much measurement error there is when using incentivized lotteries – the correlations between risk premia measured for the same individual using different experimental choices can be quite low, and correlations tend to be higher for survey measures – and speculation that the measurement error may be worse in developing countries “large share of the papers that document contradictory effects of violent conflict or natural disasters use experimental data from developing countries, but these tools were typically developed in the context of high-income countries. They may be more likely to produce noisy results in samples that are less educated, partly illiterate, or less used to abstract thinking)
    • a series of papers on how much the U.S. gains from trade

Weekly Links April 27: improving water conservation, acceptance rates drop below 3%, using pre-analysis plans for observational data, and more...

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