We all know that institutions matter for development. A really nice new paper by Daron Acemoglu, Tristan Reed and James Robinson shows us how political competition affects a wide range of development outcomes.
The discount rate used by individuals to trade off utility in the future against utility today is a fundamental parameter of decision theory. It is typically elicited in surveys by asking individuals to make choices between receiving an amount today, and a different amount at some point in the future. There are lots of key design issues involved in doing this (e.g.
- Using mobile phones for data collection efforts – some lessons from doing this in Uganda – from the World Bank’s EduTech blog.
Trends in income inequality are at the center of development policy discussions these days. Part of this renewed attention is no doubt a tribute to Thomas Piketty’s pioneering work to measure top income shares using income tax data, as well as his much-discussed new book. Piketty’s work shows some dramatic trends in inequality at the top end of the income distribution. For example, in countries such as C
- Andrew Gelman hosts a discussion on list randomization experiments to elicit sensitive information
- In Foreign Affairs Chris Blattman and Paul Niehaus discuss cash transfers.
Last week I attended the International Development Conference at the Kennedy School of Government, joining a session on social protection. The conference is organized by KSG students (kudos to the students for their hard work in making it happen and interesting!), and has a format with no presentations and informal panel discussions with invited speakers.
- Rachel Glennerster discusses thorny issues that arise in the ethics of doing research (whether a randomized experiment or not) in developing countries, summarizing some issues in a new chapter she has on this issue.
I finally read through a much-discussed paper by Stephen Ziliak and Edward Teather-Posadas, entitled “The Unprincipled Randomization Principle”.
- On the 3ie blog Howard White discusses a 1985 WHO paper about doing impact evaluations on water and sanitation projects – and notes a lot of similarities with problems noted in IE design then and ones that continue to be prevalent today.