David McKenzie's blog
- On the promise and perils of sharing work in progress – nice discussion on the MonkeyCage blog, including references to Berk’s post on the problems of working papers.
- Berk and co-author’s systematic review of the relative effectiveness of conditional and unconditional cash transfers is now out in The Campbell Collaboration Library.
- In Science last week, Sendhil Mullainathan and co-authors have work showing the cognitive costs of poverty. The Atlantic cities has a summary.
While the blog was on break over the last month, a couple of posts caught my attention by discussing whether it is ethical to do experiments on programs that we think we know will make people better off. First up, Paul Farmer on the Lancet Global Health blog writes:
- On the CGD blog, William Savedoff summarizes a conference held last week at CGD on impact evaluation – he includes a nice graph from his presentation which shows the growth in the number of impact evaluations over time
A new book Chronicles from the Field: The Townsend Thai Project provides a behind-the-scenes look at putting together one of the most impressive data collection projects in development - Rob Townsend’s Thai data, which has conducted monthly surveys on a panel of Thai households for over 150 consecutive months, as well as annual surveys. The Townsend Thai data is available online and has spurred a number of research papers by Rob and his co-authors. This book looks at what it takes to produce all this data.
- The Center for Financial Inclusion blog discusses new global data on corruption - Sierra Leone recorded the highest rate with 81 percent of polled individuals reporting that they had paid a bribe during the past year, followed by Liberia, Yemen, and Kenya, with 75, 74, and 70 percent, respectively.
I’ve been reading Evidence-based policy: a practical guide to doing it better by Nancy Cartwright and Jeremy Hardle. The book is about how one should go about using existing evidence to move from “it works there” to “it will work here”. I was struck by their critique of external validity as it is typically discussed.
- external validity
- 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.