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Berk Ozler's blog

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 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:

Adequacy of Reporting in Economics

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Should the identity of the author affect the interpretation of the existing evidence? You might answer ‘no,’ but it does. And when it does, it may affect the decision of influential people and institutions, such as a multilateral donor organization or, in the following case, a high level panel discussing the post-MDGs development agenda.

Defining Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: An Unconditional Mess

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Many policymakers are interested in the role of conditions in cash transfer programs. Do they improve outcomes of interest more than money alone? Are there trade-offs? Is there a role for conditions for political rather than technocratic reasons? It’s easy to extend the list of questions for a good while. However, before one can get to these questions, there is a much more basic question that needs to be answered (for any policymaker contemplating running one of these programs at any level): “What do you mean by a conditional (or unconditional) cash transfer program?”