The past week has seen the World Bank building covered in banners and messages promoting the release of the 2012 World Development Report and the annual meetings. One of my colleagues drew my attention to this claim of impact on the sidewalk outside the Bank:
Studies of poverty, inequality, and development tend to be conducted in disciplinary silos. Rarely do such efforts reach across disciplinary boundaries and thus at times they fall short of grasping the complexity of these issues. Various scholars have made a case for interdisciplinary approaches particularly in the field of international development.
If you want to know the average impact of being assigned the option of some “treatment”— the so-called “intent-to-treat” parameter—then you will get a good (unbiased) estimate by comparing the mean outcome for an experimental group that is randomly assigned the treatment with that for another group randomly denied that option.
I am writing to follow up on Berk’s post about using regression discontinuity design to evaluate the impacts of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs. It happens that some colleagues and I at the International Food Policy Research Institute recently completed two papers using a unique regression discontinuity design (RDD) to evaluate the impacts of El Salvador’s Comunidades Solidarias Rurales (CSR) program. T
When I first started field work in Indonesia (as a PhD student) I observed numerous household survey interviews. Even though I didn’t speak Javanese I was familiar with the questionnaire and so could follow the ups and downs of the household interview. These survey encounters were not trivial events for the typical household that, almost universally, would welcome a group of strangers into their house who would then probe and ask about every aspect of their lives for up to two hours.
- Survey effects
International migration is the most effective action that people in developing countries can take to increase their incomes and well-being. Yet our ability to learn about the policies that enhance or inhibit the gains to migration is severely restricted due to the poor state of migration data. One element of this is the lack of representative surveys of immigrants.
Women are less likely to occupy the top paying jobs in developed economies, in part because they are less competitive than men. A whole series of laboratory experiments has detailed the gap in competitiveness between the average woman and the average man, even when women are just as good, if not better than men. Is this result due to the fact that women are biologically female, or the fact that they are socialized as female? Although we often alternate between gender and sex in describing males and females, they are not strictly the same.
Last week I posted about a nice experiment that Lori Beaman and Jeremy Magruder had done to understand the role networks play in job-referrals.
I was recently talking with one of my younger colleagues and she was lamenting something that was going wrong in an impact evaluation she was working on. She was thinking of throwing in the towel and shutting down the work. This reminded me of the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when I started doing impact evaluation (as well as research more generally) when something went wrong. Now, of course, I am bald…