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Measuring work

Markus Goldstein's picture

I was in a meeting the other week where we were wrestling with the issue of how to capture better labor supply in agricultural surveys.   This is tough – the farms are often far from the house, tasks are often dispersed across time, with some of them being a small amount of hours – either in total or on a given day.   Families can have more than one farm, weakening what household members know about how the others spend their time.   One of the interesting papers that came up was a study by Elena Bardasi, Kathleen Beegle, Andrew Dllon and Pieter Serneels.  Before turning to their results its worth spending a bit more time discussing what could be going on. 

Two things would seem to matter (among others).  First, who you ask could shape the information you get.    We’ve had multiple posts in the past about imperfections in within household information.   These posts have talked about income and consumption and while labor would arguably be easier to observe, it may suffer from the same strategic motives for concealment and thus be underreported when the enumerator asks someone other than the actual worker to respond on this.   

Links of the week: The impact of the global gag order, taking your husband’s name, zapping cash, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

·         The impact of George Bush cutting funding to all NGOs operating abroad that provide or counsel women on abortion was actually to increase abortion rates according to new research by Stanford researchers – the hypothesized channel is through a reduction in the availability of birth control.

Development impact calls for knowledgeable development practitioners

Martin Ravallion's picture

These days we talk a lot about how best to assess development impact through evaluative research. Sound data and methods are essential. Here there has been considerable progress over the last 20 years or so.

All that progress will come to nothing if it does not make those people actually doing development more knowledgeable about what they are doing.  This depends in part on whether the research that is done is useful and well disseminated. Here there has also been progress, though more work is needed.

Further thoughts on sharing results

Markus Goldstein's picture

I wanted to follow up on David’s post of yesterday on the issue of sharing results with respondents.   My initial reaction was that we kind of owe this to the respondents not least because they spent a lot of time answering our tedious questionnaires. But as David points out, it’s not quite that simple in cases where we expect to have ongoing work.  

The perfectionists versus the reductionists

Markus Goldstein's picture

coauthored with Jishnu Das

Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, and produce 50 percent of the food, yet earn only 10 percent of the income…. 

--Former President Bill Clinton addressing the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (September 2009)

Impressive, heart-wrenching, charity-inducing, get off your sofa and go do something heartbreaking.

But Wrong.

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