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Berk Ozler's blog

Confusing a treatment for a cure

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A treatment is an instance of treating someone, say, medically. A cure ends a problem. Sometimes, the treatment is a cure. Other times, it just keeps the problem under control without curing it: if you remove the treatment, the problem comes back…
 

Taking Ethics Seriously: Response #1

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Yesterday, Martin Ravallion wrote a piece titled ‘Taking Ethical Validity Seriously.’ It focused on ethically contestable evaluations and used RCTs as the main (only?) example of such evaluations. It is a good piece: researchers can always benefit from questioning themselves and their work in different ways.

Introducing 'Ask Guido'

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This week we're introducing our new series that we decided to call 'Ask Guido.' Guido Imbens has kindly agreed to answer technical questions every so often and we are thrilled. For this first installment, Guido starts by answering a question about standard errors and the appropriate level of clustering in matching.
 

One question that often comes up in empirical work concerns the appropriate way to calculate standard errors, and in particular the correct level of clustering. Here is a specific version of the question that someone posed, slightly paraphrased:

Becoming a Man (and Good at Math)

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Although, I try to follow the research in my field regardless of where it is conducted, I usually don’t pick studies from the U.S. or other developed countries for discussion in this space. However, when the study involves interventions to improve various outcomes for adolescents, reports some encouraging findings, and may be applicable in the developing world, we can make an exception. So, today’s post is about a study that takes place in a public high school on the south side of Chicago…

Learn to live without external validity

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We promised some time ago to review the recent working paper by Pritchett and Sandefur on external validity, and the title of this post is the main take-away for me: my name is Berk Özler and I agree with this specific message. However, while I’d like to say that there is much more here, I am afraid that I, personally, did not find more to write home about...

From the Annals of Puzzles: Why Indian Children Are More Stunted than African Children

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I recently finished teaching smart and hard working honours students. In Growth and Development, we covered equity and talked about inequalities of opportunity (and outcomes) across countries, across regions within countries, between different ethnic groups, genders, etc. In Population and Labour Economics, we covered intra-household bargaining models and how spending on children may vary depending on the relative bargaining power of the parents.

Creativity vs. fishing for results in scientific research

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One of my favorite bloggers, Andrew Gelman, has a piece in Slate.com in which he uses a psychology paper that purported to show women are more likely to wear red or pink when they are most fertile as an example of the ‘scientific mass production of spurious statistical significance.’ Here is an excerpt:

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