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Weekly links June 15: advice, humanitarian assistance RCTs, power calcs gone wrong, the CDD debate, and more...

David McKenzie's picture

Is grammar holding back efficiency and growth?

Markus Goldstein's picture
Ask a German to describe a bridge, and they are likely to use words like beautiful and elegant.   Ask a Spanish speaker, and they will use words like big and dangerous.   Now, ask them to describe a key.  The German will say hard and heavy while the Spanish speaker will say lovely and intricate.    Why?   According to work by Boroditsky and co-authors, that’s because in German the bridge takes a feminine article and the key takes the masculine.   And, as you may have guessed, the reverse is true in Spanish.  
 

Writing a Papers and Proceedings Paper

David McKenzie's picture

Ok, this is an even more specialized blogpost than usual, but I thought it might still be of use to some readers. I’ve received several variants of the following question from colleagues “I’m excited that my AEA session was accepted for the papers and proceedings. But how do I write a P&P paper without hurting my chances of also publishing the longer paper?” or “but the paper I have in that session is already forthcoming somewhere else, what should I write as the P&P?”.  I thought I’d offer my advice on this, since there doesn’t seem to be much written out there.

Weekly links June 8: are negative income taxes toxic, marshmallows and SES, psychometric credit, p-value hate, and more...

David McKenzie's picture
  • The Atlantic summarizes a new replication of the marshmallow test, “the new study finds limited support for the idea that being able to delay gratification leads to better outcomes. Instead, it suggests that the capacity to hold out for a second marshmallow is shaped in large part by a child’s social and economic background—and, in turn, that that background, not the ability to delay gratification, is what’s behind kids’ long-term success”
  • David Evans’ collection of logframes!
  • On the All About Finance blog, Claudia Ruiz and co-authors summarize their work in Peru on using psychometric scoring to extend credit to SMEs – using a regression discontinuity.
  • Sylvain Chabé-Ferret hates p-values so much he is writing 6 blog posts about it (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4, others to come). I particularly recommend post 4, which has a nice illustration of the point that when samples are small, if you find a statistically significant effect, it is heavily biased: in his simulation “With N=100, the estimates that are statistically different from zero at the 5% level are 2 to 2.5 bigger than the true effect”.

Weekly links June 1: moral quandaries, plunging response rates, business aspirations, an attempt to revive blogging, and more...

David McKenzie's picture

Too poor to save?

Markus Goldstein's picture
Across developing countries, only 63 percent of adults have a bank account, according to our friends over at the Findex.  And we’ve seen a couple of papers with targeted populations that suggest savings vehicles could be good for some development outcomes.   So is it time for a big push on banking the unbanked?  
 

Five small things I’ve learned recently

David McKenzie's picture

As a change from my usual posts, I thought I’d note five small things I’ve learned recently, mostly to do with Stata, with the hope that they might help others, or at least jog my memory when I unlearn them again soon.

1.Stata’s random number generator has a limit on the seed that you can set of 2,147,483,647.
Why did I learn this? We were doing a live random assignment for an impact evaluation I am starting in Colombia. We had programmed up the code, and tested it several times, with it working fine. In our test code, we had set the seed for random number generation as the date “04112018”. Then when my collaborator went to run this live, it was decided to also add the time of the drawing at the end, so that the seed was set as “041120180304”.  This generated an error, and prevented the code from running. Luckily we could quickly fix it, and the live draw proceeded ok. But lesson learned, 2^31-1 is a large number, but sometimes binds.

Weekly links May 25: tips for saying no, three stories on the media and development, cricket as a development policy? And more...

David McKenzie's picture
  • NBER Summer institute development economics program and labor studies program.
  • The map of “Manuscript-Earth” featuring  “The pit of you saved those files, right? Right?”, “confused about the big picture woods”, “The island of misfit results” and other glorious landmarks (h/t Dave Evans).
  • Do you say “no” enough to new projects? Anton Pottegard has a nice poster of 8 practical tools to assist in saying no – including JOMO (joy of missing out) – “once a project is turned down, set time aside to actively ponder about how happy you are not to be doing it” (h/t Scott Cunningham).

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