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David McKenzie's blog

Weekly links October 3: self-control, attitudes vs behavior, IE and poverty, and more…

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  • Self-control and worker productivity: In the Upshot, Sendhil Mullainathan summarizes his experiment in India that found that piece-rate data entry workers benefited as much from signing a commitment contract that punished them if they didn’t hit a target as they would from a 50 percent pay raise.

Experimentally testing a Job Matching Service and explaining high educated unemployment in Jordan

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In 2010, unemployment rates for Jordanian men and women between the ages of 22 to 26 with a post-secondary degree were 19 percent and 47 percent, respectively. The transition period from graduating university to stable employment for youth who do not immediately find a job is 33 months on average. This problem of educated unemployed is pervasive in many countries in MENA, and raises the question of why the labor market doesn’t clear for educated youth?

Curves in all the wrong places: Gelman and Imbens on why not to use higher-order polynomials in RD

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A good regression-discontinuity can be a beautiful thing, as Dave Evans illustrates in a previous post. The typical RD consists of controlling for a smooth function of the forcing variable (i.e. the score that has a cut-off where people on one side of the cut-off get the treatment, and those on the other side do not), and then looking for a discontinuity in the outcome of interest at this cut-off. A key practical problem is then how exactly to control for the forcing variable.

Blog links August 1: Classic ideas in development revisited, guide to behavioral economics, education and crime, and more…

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The latest issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives contains a symposium on classic ideas in development: Doug Gollin on the Lewis model, Chang-Tai Hsieh and Ben Olken on the missing middle, Rafael La Porta and Andrei Shleifer on informality, and

Justification for Attending that Next Conference (or at least having that lunch meeting with people from the other building)

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Co-authorship has become increasingly common in economics, rising from 28 percent of publications in top journals in 1973 to 55% in 1993 and 79.6% in 2011. But are people collaborating as much as they should, or do search frictions prevent productive collaborations from taking place?

Weekly links July 25: better schools equals less risky teen health behaviors, helping young female entrepreneurs, and more…

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