I have just come back from the pilot for a survey on perceptions of inequality in Lao Cai, near the northern border of Vietnam. Many tourists visit via the overnight train from Hanoi to trek through the green hills filled with terraced rice paddies and see something of the culture of the region’s ethnic minority groups. Despite all the tourist money, the region remains one of Vietnam’s poorest.
- How should we measure what is a high-income country? Martin Ravallion explains and critiques the World Bank definition on the CGD blog.
- Aid Thoughts discusses new work on the value of daycare in Brazilian slums.
- A new From Evidence to Policy note looks at the long-term impact of a conditional cash transfer on education in Colombia-part of the analysis uses admin data on test scores for graduating students – “students whose families received cash grants were between 4 and 8.4 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school; but Students whose families received the cash grants didn’t score higher on the national standardized achievement test given a year before graduation”.
- Classic papers in behavioral finance summed up in a few sentences – Noah Smith gives his take on essential papers in behavioral finance.
- On the IDB Development Effectiveness blog, Dean Yang and co-authors summarize their new study on the use of matching funds to channel remittances towards education in El Salvador.
- Funding opportunity: The World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF) has a new call for proposals for work on basic education, water and sanitation, early childhood development, and health systems. Details here.
- Funding opportunity: 3ie has funding available under an agricultural innovation thematic window. This grant window will fund up to 16 new impact evaluations of interventions in the areas of knowledge transfer, contractual arrangements, adoption, and soil health
- Funding opportunity: (Not just for impact evaluations) IZA and DFID are now accepting applications for funding in Phase III of the Growth and Labor Markets in Low Income Countries (GLM | LIC) program. This will fund work on 1. Growth and labor market outcomes, 2. Active labor market policies, 3. Labor market institutions, 4. Migration and labor markets, 5. Gender and 6. Data for labor market analysis. Application materials here.
When we want to target a poor population for an anti-poverty program, we first need to figure out who is actually poor. This isn’t straightforward – there are a range of potential targeting criteria and options. In countries where poverty is less dense and data is decent, two of the more common options are self-targeting and proxy means tests. A nice recent paper by Vivi Alatas, Abjijit Banerjee, Rema Hanna, Benjamin Olken, Ririn Purnamasari, and Matthew Wai-Poi sheds some light on th
There are a number of things we would like to measure for which a direct question may be refused or met with an inaccurate answer. Three new papers demonstrate some of the methods that can be used to help overcome these problems.
Micro-insurance pilot programs begin with grand hopes that the target population will enroll and obtain program benefits, but many are disappointed that after much planning and effort so few actually take up the program. Apparently take-up rates greater than 30% are rare and often do not exceed 15%. Furthermore, only a fraction of beneficiaries choose to renew their participation after the initial enrollment period.
- RCT reporting
- In the LSE Centrepiece, Renata Lemos and Daniela Scur have a short piece summarizing new results from measuring management in retail, health, education and manufacturing in India: “In retail, the top 10% of Indian stores are better managed than 40% of US stores and 57% of UK stores. But in education, only 8% of US schools and 1% of UK schools are less well managed than the best 10% of Indian schools.”
Guest Post by Laura Rawlings
In 2009 the American Economic Association launched four new journals. Over the past five years, the American Economic Journal Applied Economics (AEJ Applied), edited by development economist Esther Duflo, has published a number of development papers related to impact evaluations.
- On the FAI blog, Jonathan Morduch discusses the problems of trying to measure the cost of microfinance and why the profession underfocuses on costs – “if you’re not the kind of person who gets pleasure from filling out income tax forms, you’re probably not the kind of person who enjoys calculating microfinance subsidies”.