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Markus Goldstein's blog

Getting to better data: Talking to strangers

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About 15 years ago, when I was doing my dissertation research with a professor with experience in fieldwork, we did a 15 round survey with households in Ghana.   Given the frequency of the visits, we based the enumerators in the village.  But we were careful to hire enumerators from nearby big towns -- not the villages in which we were working.  This was partly for skills, but mostly to make sure that the enumerators wouldn't be asking sensitive questions of people they knew.   

What makes bureaucracies work better? Lessons from the Nigerian Civil Service

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Given Jed's post last week on thinking through performance incentives for health workers, and the fact that the World Bank is in the throes of a reform process itself, a fascinating new paper from Imran Rasul and Daniel Rogger on autonomy and performance based incentives in Nigeria gives us some other food for thought.   In a nutshell, Rasul and Rogger f

What happens when large ruminants (and some training) meet poverty traps

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Can we break poverty traps?   An interesting new paper by Oriana Bandiera, Robin Burgess, Narayan Das, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul, and Munshi Sulaiman adds to this emergent literature with a definitive “yes we can.”     Bandiera, et. al. evaluate a program run by the NGO BRAC which provides a significant infusion of capital, coupled with training, for Bangladeshi women.  

Getting to better data: who does the editing?

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In a previous post I talked about some issues with collecting gender disaggregating data in practice. Susan Watkins helpfully pointed me to a number of papers which provide more systematic and thoughtful evidence on data collection issues that a lot of us face and I thought it would be useful to summarize some of them here.  

Climate change and conflict

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I was at the Centre for the Study of African Economies conference this week, and Ted Miguel gave a fascinating keynote lecture.   The talk is based on a paper with coauthors Marshall Burke and Solomon Hsiang where they look at the effects of climate change on conflict.    And it was fascinating because they pull together a range of different evidence to build the case that if we care about conflict we o

Introducing the Africa Gender Innovation Lab

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Today I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about a new initiative that the Africa Region and the Research Group at the World Bank are launching today.   The idea here is that we don't know enough about how to effectively address the underlying causes of gender inequality. Let me start by explaining what I mean by underlying causes.    Take the case of female farmers.    There is a lot of literature out there which shows that women have lower agricultural yields than men.   And some of it shows that this is because women have lo

The multi-layered benefits of daycare: evidence from Mozambique

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When I drop my kids off at daycare, it does occasionally occur to me: what am I doing to them?   (This thought is particularly acute when they wrap themselves around my legs).    Last year, 3ie put out a systematic review on the impact of daycare programs. The conclusions are instructive: