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David McKenzie's blog

Reviewing Jim Manzi’s Uncontrolled: A humble push for evaluation through experimentation, but also a missed opportunity

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The new book Uncontrolled by Jim Manzi has attracted a lot of recent press (e.g. see Markus’ recent post for discussion of David Brooks’ take, or this piece in the Atlantic), and makes the argument that there should be a lot more randomized experiments of social programs. I was therefore very interested to order a copy and just finished reading it.

Thoughts from the BREAD Development Conference – should our prior be no effect, and issues with learning from encouragement

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I spent Friday and Saturday at the BREAD development conference at Yale (program here). It differs from most conferences - which feature many papers each presented for a short amount of time- by instead having only 7 papers each presented for 1 hour 15 minutes with plenty of spirited discussion.

Stark evidence on the jobs quality-quantity trade-off: Evidence from migration

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“More and better jobs” is a goal for many policymakers around the world (along with part of the title for a recent World Bank South Asia flagship report on employment). How to create “good jobs” is a key question that the next World Development Report is also expected to help answer.

The Impact of Hiring Workers from More Productive Firms- what really cool data tells us

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A number of developed countries now have linked employer-employee records, although to date I haven’t seen as many papers doing cool things with such data as I would expect. A new paper in the AEJ-Applied (ungated here) by Andrey Stoyanov and Nikolay Zubanov uses Danish data to show what is possible, and help provide some of the most convincing evidence yet that workers carry firm knowledge with them when they move.