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Measuring the rate at which we discount the future: a comparison of two new field-based approaches

Jed Friedman's picture

Many key economic decisions involve implicit trade-offs over time: how much to save or invest today affects how much to spend both today and tomorrow, and individuals will differ in their preferences for satisfaction today versus delayed satisfaction tomorrow. Economists call the relative preference (or disfavor) for the present over the future a discount rate (i.e. the rate at which we discount the future for the present), and the discount rate is a core parameter in economic models of choice and behavior.

Is it just a matter of teaching poor people their rights? An information campaign for India’s NREGA

Martin Ravallion's picture

It is often the case that poor people do not fully access the public services due to them. Information-based interventions have been proposed as a response. The premise is that lack of information is a decisive demand-side factor inhibiting successful participatory action by poor people to get the services to which they are entitled.

More on the “just give them cash” debate for small business growth

David McKenzie's picture

There has been a lot of recent debate and discussion about the role of cash grants in aid, and whether aid is more effective when simply given as unrestricted cash compared to approaches such as conditional transfers which try to restrict how recipients use any money received. Traditionally this debate has centered around food aid and education funding, but more recently this discussion has also arisen with respect to funding small businesses.

Questioning the External Validity of Regression Estimates: Why they can be less representative than you think.

David McKenzie's picture

A common critique of many impact evaluations, including those using both experimental and quasi-experimental methods, is that of external validity – how well do findings from one setting export to another? This is especially the case for studies done on relatively small samples, although as I have ranted before, there appears to be a double standard in this critique when compared to both other disciplines in economics and to other development literature.

Building the evidence based roadmap for women's economic empowerment

Markus Goldstein's picture

On Monday I was at the UN Foundation's launch of a new report, A Roadmap for Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment.  Authored by Mayra Buvinic, Rebecca Furst-Nichols and Emily Courey Pryor this report provides a significant step forward in making sense of the rapidly growing evidence base on what works and what does not for gender equality.   [Full disclosure: with co-authors I contributed two of the many background papers for this report].
 

Some new experiments trying to help more people emigrate from the Philippines

David McKenzie's picture

Moving from a developing to a developed country results in immediate large increases in income for the migrants, with gains that far exceed those of any other development policy intervention (e.g. Clemens et al 2008; McKenzie et al. 2010, Gibson and McKenzie, forthcoming).

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