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Weekly links July 31: Household surveys in crisis, Doing Business, machine learning, and more…

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  • Household surveys in crisis – Bruce Meyer and co-authors in a new NBER working paper highlight the many issues due to declining cooperation of respondents in the U.S.:
    • Unit nonresponse: Households have become increasingly less likely to answer surveys at all: nonresponse rates for major U.S. surveys like the CPS, SIPP, and GSS now exceed 20 percent

From my mailbox: should I work with only a subsample of my control group if I have big take-up problems?

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Over the past month I’ve received several versions of the same question, so thought it might be useful to post about it.
 
Here’s one version:
I have a question about an experiment in which we had a very big problem getting the individuals in the treatment group to take-up the treatment. Therefore we now have a treatment much smaller than the control. For efficiency reasons does it still make sense to survey all the control group, or should we take a random draw in order to have an equal number of treated and control?
 
And another version

Allocating Treatment and Control with Multiple Applications per Applicant and Ranked Choices

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This came up in the context of work with Ganesh Seshan designing an evaluation for a computer training program for migrants. The training program was to be taught in one 3 hour class per week for several months. Classes were taught Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5-8 pm, and then there were four separate slots on Friday, the first day of the weekend. So in total there were 7 possible sessions people could potentially attend. However, most migrants would prefer to go on the weekend, and many would not be able to attend on particular days of the week.

Weekly links: preventing coups through free trade?, why don’t Indians eat more? And more…

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Weekly links June 26: hurting power, banning bottled water, the case against training, and more…

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Weekly links June 19: The anthropological argument for just giving cash, slow thinking, what those classic psych experiments really say and more…

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Randomizing Competition: allowing CCT recipients to get more goods for their money

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The Dominican Republic’s Solidaridad conditional cash transfer program provides its monetary transfers to poor families in the form of a debit card that can only be used at a network of grocery stores affiliated with the program (it does this in part to ensure they spend the money on food). The typical monthly transfer is about $36, which is 17% of median monthly food expenditure.

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