One of the things I get asked when people are designing experiments – when they are either interested in or worried about spillover effects – is how to divvy up the clusters into treatment and control and what share of individuals within treatment clusters to assign within-cluster controls. The answer seems straightforward – it may look intuitive to assign a third to each group and I have seen a few designs that have done this, but it turns out that it’s a bit more complicated than that. There was no software that I am aware of that helped you with such power calculations, until now...
- A webcast of the AEA panel on “publishing in economics journals: the curse of the top 5” (h/t @DurRobert) – Heckman, Akelof, Deaton, Fudenberg and Hansen discuss. Some interesting discussion and comments – Deaton notes he didn’t have any papers rejected until he was famous; Heckman had a lot of data, including this one which shows (first column) which journals account for most dissemination of the ideas of the top development economists – with WBER number 1:
In my very first experiment, Suresh de Mel, Chris Woodruff, and I gave small grants of capital to microenterprises in Sri Lanka. We found that these one-time grants had lasting impacts on firm profitability for male owners. However, despite these increases in firm profits, few owners made the leap from self-employed to hiring others.
In 2008 we therefore started a new experiment with a different group of Sri Lankan microenterprises, trying to see if we could help them make this transition to becoming employers. Eight years later, I’m delighted to finally have a working paper out with the results.
- Fiona Burlig blogs on her new paper about how to do more accurate power calculations for experiments that use panel data (more T). There is apparently also Stata code, but I haven’t been able to download it yet and play around with this.
- In time for those on the job market, the CSWEP newsletter has advice from a number of economists on how to discuss the dual career search process: lots of different perspectives and advice. One piece discusses how ambiguity aversion means it can be helpful to reveal your status, whatever this is. The majority seem to be suggesting you should disclose this information around the time you are invited for a flyout.
- How much does interviewing with bystanders around affect survey responses? The inaugural blog post from Kantar public Africa and Middle East reports that i) bystanders are present in about half the cases. Bystanders are mostly non-family and extended family members, such as neighbours, domestic staff, but also children - not the spouse. Ii) bystander presence has little effect on non-sensitive question responses, but do for some sensitive questions; iii) the presence of the husband or wife can sometimes improve accuracy.
- From the IDB Development that works blog – a program in Bolivia manages to reduce malnutrition, but made the kids overweight instead.
This is the fifteenth in our series of job market posts this year.
For better or for worse, social norms have profound influence on many of the decisions we make—from political to personal. These norms can be particularly influential when it comes to making decisions surrounding child rearing, including the decision parents make to participate in the practice of female genital cutting (FGC). Parents living in communities that practice FGC—located primarily in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia—decide whether or not their daughter will undergo FGC based on social pressure and the perceived costs and benefits of adhering to or deviating from the social norm.
The practice has no known medical benefits, and it is associated with a wide range of health complications, both physical and psychological. Women who undergo FGC are more than twice as likely to experience birthing complications (Jones et al., 1999), and are 25 percent more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases (Wagner, 2014). In addition, women who have undergone FGC are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Dorkenoo, 1999; Behrendt & Moritz, 2005). These health complications make working in and outside of the household more difficult.
- The Call for Papers is up for the World Bank’s Annual Bank Conference on Africa. The theme is “The Challenges and Opportunities of Transforming African Agriculture.” The conference is June 2017 at UC Berkeley. Papers are due February 24. (Some support is available for African presenters whose work is accepted.)
- Thomas Schelling, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2005, passed away this week. You can read about his life and work from Henry Farrell at the Washington Post, William Grimes at the New York Times, Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution, or elsewhere.
- We are in the home stretch of our Job Market Series: We will have 17 posts in total, with the three final posts to come next week. You can easily find all the posts in one place here.
- A new Finance & PSD Impact note highlights the results of an experiment which tries to formalize firms in Benin by enhancing the benefits of formalization.
- Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution has a good summary and very nice things to say about Das et al.’s new AER paper comparing private and public health care in India, using “standardized patients” (or mystery clients, as they are sometimes called).
- Education Next collects its 20 most popular articles of 2016, including prominent education economists like Eric Hanushek, Thomas Kane, Dan Goldhaber, Ludger Woessmann, and others.
- Ahmed et al. report the good news and the bad news on child marriage in Bangladesh at the IFPRI Research blog.
- Nabaneeta Biswas writes about the heterogeneous impacts of women’s electoral success on girl survival in India at the Economics That Really Matters blog.
As we enter the holiday season (you know, the solstice), here’s a bit of advice for you.
- Bruce Wydick offers a behavioral economics argument for gift cards over cash as gifts. (I completely agree with him.)
- If you’re insistent on physical objects, a host of news outlets have put together their best economics books of 2016 lists: Diane Coyle for FiveBooks, Robert Samuelson for the Washington Post, Martin Wolf for the Financial Times, Büchshelf, and The Vore.
- Plus, here are the best books from Foreign Affairs, and Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution’s best fiction and nonfiction. (My favorite books of the year so far – both novels – are Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing & Igoni Barrett’s Blackass.)
- I couldn’t find good lists of the best international development books for 2016. If you’ve seen them (or if you make one), add them in the links!