David McKenzie's blog
A common critique of many impact evaluations, including those using both experimental and quasi-experimental methods, is that of external validity – how well do findings from one setting export to another? This is especially the case for studies done on relatively small samples, although as I have ranted before, there appears to be a double standard in this critique when compared to both other disciplines in economics and to other development literature.
- 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.