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David McKenzie's blog

Friday links September 14: Cash transfers and sexual activity/food security, CDDs, Facebook causes voting, and more…

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·         Essential reading this week: The Boston Review has an excellent feature on early interventions to promote social mobility, with the lead article by Jim Heckman. I never realized quite how small the samples of the famous early childhood studies are – treatment group of 58 kids in the Perry Preschool program and 65 in the control group.

Some highlights from the IPA Impact and Policy Conference + is proof of concept policy relevant?

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At the end of August I gave several presentations at the IPA Impact and Policy Conference in Bangkok, which had days on SME development, Governance and Post-Conflict recovery, and Financial Inclusion. The agenda is here. There was a good mix of new results from studies that don’t get have papers, along with more polished work on the conference topics.

Training opportunity for people interested in doing RCTs on savings programs

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The Yale Savings and Payments Research Fund (YASPR), under the Global Financial Inclusion Initiative at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), is planning a training event for PhD (and PhD-track) researchers who are interested in conducting randomized control trials (RCTs) on micro-savings and payments. 

Friday links: diversifying from agriculture, funding, cookstoves and networks....

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·         A new From Evidence to Policy note from the World Bank’s HD network summarizes an impact evaluation of an experiment in Nicaragua which offered CCT beneficiaries vocational training or small grants to try and get them to diversify their income streams beyond agriculture. They find these treatments helped protect families against weather shocks in subseque

Gerber and Green’s new textbook on Field Experiments – should you read it, and what should they add for version 2.0?

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Alan Gerber and Don Green, political scientists at Yale and Columbia respectively, and authors of a large number of voting experiments, have a new textbook out titled Field Experiments: Design, Analysis, and Interpretation.  This is noteworthy because despite the massive growth in field experiments, to date there hasn’t been an accessible and modern textbook for social scientists looking to work in, or better understand, this area. The new book is very good, and I definitely recommend anyone working in this area to read at least key chapters.

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