In the latest Journal of Economic Perspectives several papers with a development angle:
- Jim Tybout on why the missing middle may exist after all (at least in some poor countries).
- On the CGD blog, Lant Pritchett offers his 4-part smell test for whether your impact evaluation is asking a question that matters.
- On the Monkey Cage blog, Macartan Humphreys on how to make field experiments (in politics) more ethical – very useful discussion, although his suggestion that one solution is that researchers should try to avoid doing the intervention themselves seems to me debatable – I think it deals with the paperwork concerns and deflects blame, but creates this dichotomy between researchers subject to ethical constraints and others who are not.
- Jason Kerwin on a few highlights from the NEUDC conference.
- From the Stata blog: how to put the Stata user manuals on your ipad.
- Chris Blattman discusses the controversy surrounding a field experiment being done by political scientists in the Montana election – much of the controversy seems very odd to a development economist –especially a concern that political scientists might actually be doing research that could affect politics….Dan Drezner notes the irony “political scientists appear to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t conduct experiments. In the absence of experimental methods, the standard criticism of political science is that it’s not really a science because of [INSERT YOUR PREJUDICE OF CHOICE AGAINST THE SOCIAL SCIENCES HERE]. The presence of experimental methods, however, threatens to send critics into a new and altogether more manic forms of “POLITICAL SCIENTISTS ARE PLAYING GOD!!” panic.”
- Leonard Wantchekon on the “curse of the good soil” and insufficient investment in rural infrastructure.
- From the Harvard Business Review: experiment with organizational change before going all in.
- Owen Ozier on deworming and child cognition in the long-run – particularly relevant after Berk’s post this week on the replication of the original Miguel and Kremer paper.
- Interesting piece on the challenges of attempted school reforms in India and Guinea-Bissau in the LSE Centrepiece: “With just four months until the schools were to open, our 48 candidate teachers arrived with demands that would … mean their wage rising to over four times those of the average teacher and more than the pay received by public sector doctors, as well as cabinet ministers….For the next six months, we watched as the 48 candidate teachers marched across Guinea-Bissau’s political map to try to extort a cash award from us….
- Self-control and worker productivity: In the Upshot, Sendhil Mullainathan summarizes his experiment in India that found that piece-rate data entry workers benefited as much from signing a commitment contract that punished them if they didn’t hit a target as they would from a 50 percent pay raise.
- On Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok discusses new research on lottery-linked savings accounts.
- In the Economist, a plea for better data on time use.
- A new database of impact evaluations conducted in South Asia
- Experimental evidence that hearing Spanish makes Republicans more anti-immigration.
- A useful blog post on how to come up with better titles for your papers.
The latest issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives contains a symposium on classic ideas in development: Doug Gollin on the Lewis model, Chang-Tai Hsieh and Ben Olken on the missing middle, Rafael La Porta and Andrei Shleifer on informality, and
- The impact of going to a better school is not just better grades, but also better health - based on lotteries to get into charter schools in Los Angeles: “students from the charter schools not only performed much better on math and English standard tests. These students also reported less very risky health behaviors, including unprotected sex, carrying a weapon, and gang membership, compared to district school students.”