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.
co-authored with Michael O'Sullivan
The production process for many economics papers requires relatively few inputs: one or two researchers, their computers, a research assistant, and some data someone else has collected. Indeed Bob Hall notes that Robert Solow once remarked that the most powerful tool for research was one economics professor with one research assistant.
Bill Easterly’s new book “The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor” is a meandering mélange of anecdotes, parts of Why Nations Fail, and miscellaneous pages from human rights reports, sprinkled with history of economic thought, non sequiturs about one block in New York, finally mixed with some sharper critiques of Thomas Friedman and discussion of the difficulties of measuring the relationship between autocracy and growth.