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Berk Ozler's blog

(Mis)Leading from Behind (the Scene)

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To deceive or not to deceive? David’s last post about Beaman and Magruder’s experiment, in which there is a small, and seemingly harmless deception, got me thinking about this continually uncomfortable issue. David claims that this is now an increasingly popular strategy, which gives me some worry about the future of experiments in economics.

Designing experiments to measure spillover effects

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Many programs affect those who were not directly targeted by the intervention. We know this for medical interventions (e.g. deworming: Kremer and Miguel 2004); cash transfer programs (e.g. PROGRESA: Angelucci and de Giorgi 2009); and now voter awareness programs (Giné and Mansuri 2011).

What we learned from running the 3-part series (and links of the week)

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The past couple of weeks have been unusually busy for August, but also fun. While Markus has been on vacation, Jed has produced a lot of interesting (and highly read) posts, and David and I ran a three-part series on the "Impact of Economics Blogs." The latter has been instructive. In particular, we realized -- mainly through feedback from readers -- that blogging about a paper in parts over time may be more effective in disseminating its messages and findings than the traditional one post/one link blog post.

Evaluating a large cash transfer program? Don’t ignore Regression Discontinuity Design

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One of the more common requests I receive from colleagues in the World Bank’s operational units is support on evaluating the impact of a large cash transfer program, usually carried out by the national government. Despite the fact that our government counterparts are much more willing to consider a randomized promotion impact evaluation (IE) design these days, still this is often not possible. This could be, for example, because it has already been announced that the program is going to be implemented in certain areas starting on a certain date.

Bill Easterly chimes in on Part III of our series

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Bill Easterly was kind enough to send us some detailed comments on Part III of our series on "The Impact of Economics Blogs," asking us that we post them on our blog. We are more than happy to oblige:

Berk, thanks for offering to post this response to your post on your blog. I respect you and many others in the World Bank's Research Department who produce very high quality research that meets rigorous academic standards.

Lab Psychiatry and Field Economics: does media violence cause crime?

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Today's post comes from guest blogger Arianna Legovini (World Bank).

Over the kitchen counter and with the sound of video games coming from the family room, my friend Marco was telling me how mirror neurons act out the violence and killings we see on movies. Mirror neurons allow humans to read and share emotions. They also mimic what we see, good and bad, and prepare us to act.

Misinformation and its consequences

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You’ve seen the scenario on “Law and Order” many times: the defense lawyer tosses out a wild accusation that the person on the witness stand (or someone else related to the case) is the real killer – with no evidence whatsoever behind it. Jurors have now heard about an alternative suspect for the crime. The judge proclaims that the jurors “must disregard the last statement.” But, can they?

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