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David McKenzie's blog

Q&A with Arun Agrawal, Editor of World Development Part I

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Arun Agrawal, of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, is the new editor of the journal World Development. He graciously agreed to continue our series of Q&As with journal editors.

Development Impact: You have taken over recently as editor of World Development. Tell us briefly about your vision for the journal – how do you aim to differentiate World Development from other development journals?

Weekly links March 29, 2013: job opportunities, CCTs, fishy p-values, and more…

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·         Work for me this summer: I'm looking for someone with good Stata skills who can help work with data coming in from a couple of randomized experiments, as well as to help develop and design some new work on improving measurement of business profits in developing countries. The latter would include the use of some innovative experiments with RFID technology, which I don't know much about, so the summer intern would spend some time trying to set this up.

RFID Bleg + Summer Opportunity if you know how to do this stuff

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I am in the early stages of exploring how to use RFID tags to improve measurement of turnover in small businesses. Does anyone know of cases where RFID tags have been used to track aid flows, or in development projects to track mass quantities of goods? I know technology is rapidly evolving and price dropping here, but would be good to know of recent experiences on this.

Evaluating after the barn-door has been left open: Evaluating Heifer’s Give-a-Goat or Give-a-Cow Programs

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The gift of a dairy goat represents a lasting, meaningful way for you to help a little boy or girl on the other side of the world (US$120); or how about a flock of ducks (US$20); or go all out and donate a water buffalo ($250). People need "a cow, not a cup"—cows that could produce milk so families would not have to depend on temporary aid.

International animal donation programs of the type mentioned here are one of the most well-known types of charitable requests, and are used by a number of major charities worldwide. The best known exponent of this program is Heifer International, from which the examples above are taken.  The purported goals of such programs are to improve the nutritional outcomes of participating households and provide a pathway out of poverty.

Evaluating Regulatory Reforms Using the Synthetic Control Method

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Many important policies are implemented at the national level. Monetary policy, fiscal policy, and many regulations are key examples. Pure time series or before-after analysis of the impacts of changes in these policies on the economy of a country will be contaminated by other changes going on in the economy. Simply trying to difference out global trends will not account for systematic differences in the growth path of the country where the reform took place from the average global growth path. This makes evaluation of the impacts of such policies difficult.

Blog links March 1, 2013: Still WEIRD, community grants, one-stop shops, pilgrim markets, and more…

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·         A new From Evidence to Policy note looks at the impact of a community grant program in Indonesia which gave grants to communities for health and education services. The program lowered malnutrition, and finds performance-based incentives lead to improved performance.

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