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David McKenzie's blog

Is the “conditional” in CCTs just a monitoring technology? Evidence from Brazil

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The typical arguments made for the conditioning argument of CCTs are usually based on paternalism (people might have incorrect beliefs about the value of education, or parents may have incomplete altruism for their kids), externalities (the social returns to education exceed the private returns so individuals underinvest),   or political economy (it is easier to sell transfers to the voters if you make them conditional). A

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.