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March 2016

Get more farmers off their farms

David McKenzie's picture
Justin Wolfers had a nice piece in the Upshot about new work on how growing up in a bad neighborhood has long-term negative consequences for kids. The key point of the new work is that the benefits of moving from bad neighborhoods may be particularly high for kids whose parents won’t voluntarily move, but only move because their public housing is demolished.

Weekly links March 25: nudges, helpful Stata commands, saving more and earning more, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

Weekly links March 18: R&D credits, Indian internal migration, Accra’s slums, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

The top 8 active researchers in developing countries according to RePEc

David McKenzie's picture

The Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) database has over 46,000 researchers registered. Each month they send out rankings based on downloads, citations, and other metrics. Their ranking of economists based on publications in the last 10 years is topped by some of the best known names in economics (the top 5 are Acemoglu, Shleifer, Heckman, Barro and Rogoff). But looking through their top 100 (as of January 2016), I found 8 of the top 100 researchers are based in developing countries (taking World Bank client countries as “developing countries” for this purpose). Since I was only familiar with the work of one of these eight individuals, I thought it might be of interest to note some of this work going on outside of the usual top schools. I contacted the authors to ask them also what idea or work they were most proud of, or would most like to draw policy attention to.

Impostor Syndrome

Berk Ozler's picture

Josh Ritter is one of my favorite musicians. So, imagine my joy when I saw that he was doing an essay in the middle of PBS Newshour this past Thursday – what is normally a depressing hour these days, full of bad news from Flint, South Sudan, Republican primaries and debates, and much more. The essay started with footage of him (seemingly at the 9:30 Club in DC) singing Homecoming: great.

Weekly links March 11: Defining a large effect size, helping job-seekers, a field research guide, Papua New Guineans, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • What is a large effect size? In the Huffington Post, Robert Slavin educational research and finds average effect sizes differ depending on whether the sample size is small or large, and non-experimental (matching) or randomized – and comes up with the table below. The average effect size for a randomized evaluation on a large sample is 0.11 S.D. compared to 0.32 S.D. for a matching-based evaluation on a small sample. He suggests effect sizes therefore need to be “graded on a curve”, with what constitutes big depending on the method of evaluation and the size of the sample.(Although also recall our posts on the problems of using S.D. to compare effect sizes in the first place).

What works for improving welfare in agriculture: version 0.001

Markus Goldstein's picture
Two years ago, Mike O’Sullivan and I did a post on gender and agriculture.  One of the things we pointed out was that there was a pretty dismal lack of evidence on interventions in agriculture (forget gender).  So I was pretty excited when the recent Campbell Collaboration systematic review on “the effects of training, innovation and new technology on African smallholder farmers’ economic outcomes and food

What does Alwyn Young’s paper mean for analysis of experiments?

David McKenzie's picture

I’ve been asked several times what I think of Alwyn Young’s recent working paper “Channelling Fisher: Randomization Tests and the Statistical Insignificance of Seemingly Significant Experimental Results”. After reading the paper several times and reflecting on it, I thought I would share some thoughts, with a particular emphasis on what I think it means for people analyzing experimental data going forward.

Weekly links March 4: all measures suck, make your work group thrive, lean research, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

When Is A Baseline More Than A Baseline? 5 Uses for Your Baseline Survey

David Evans's picture

So you’ve designed an awesome impact evaluation, you’ve carried out a rich baseline survey, you’ve presented the baseline results to the government of Brigadoon, and now you….wait two years until the follow-up survey? What else can you do with this baseline data? You can do a lot! You can write a report, you can write a brief, you can publish papers, you can test targeting strategies, and you can even [drumroll] affect policy.