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David McKenzie's blog

Surveying in countries with too many zeros in their currency

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I’m working on an impact evaluation in Colombia right now, and we are in the process of looking at baseline data from firms. The data are a bit noisy at the moment, and part of what makes it hard for me to look at is that many of the costs are in the millions (e.g. an energy bill of 1,442,990). The exchange rate currently is 1USD = 2055 Colombian pesos.

Weekly links February 28: Malaria not so bad after all, people don’t mind if you only give stuff to their neighbors, and more…

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  • Reminder: Today (Friday 28th) is the deadline for submissions to the World Bank’s ABCDE conference. While the title of the conference is “The Role of Theory in Development Economics”, they are looking for a broad range of “papers on innovative ways that analytical and deductive methods, as well as issues of methodology such as the use of randomizations, can be used in development.”.

Yikes, not only is it hard for us to do experiments with firms, it can be really hard for firms to experiment on themselves

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I came across a new working paper written by researchers at Google and Microsoft with the title “on the near impossibility of measuring the returns to advertising”. They begin by noting the astounding statistic that annual US advertising revenue is $173 billion, or about $500 per American per year. That’s right, more than the GDP per capita of countries like Burundi, Madagascar and Eritrea is spent just on advertising!

A Curated List of Our Postings on Technical Topics – Your One-Stop Shop for Methodology

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Rather than the usual list of Friday links, this week I thought I’d follow up on our post by Guido Imbens yesterday on clustering and post earlier this week by Dave Evans on Hawthorne effects with a curated list of our technical postings, to serve as a one-stop shop for your technical reading.

Weekly Links February 14: Valentines, Generalizability, Distinguishing a Prominent Development Economist from Your Drunk Uncle, and More…

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