Markus Goldstein's blog
I want to thank Catherine, David and some anonymous readers for their responses to last week’s post on who pays for evaluations. Their thoughtful responses led to me think more about objectivity and engagement with project teams, so here it goes:
The 6 foot 6 inch man looked me in the eye.
“And if we don’t like the results, I’ll break your kneecaps,” he said, without smiling.
This encounter, on my first impact evaluation, made me wonder about the impartiality of the whole exercise…and I am still wondering.
So recently one of the government agencies I am working with was telling me that they were getting a lot of pressure from communities who had been randomized out of the first phase of a program. The second phase is indeed coming (when they will get the funding for their phase of the project) but the second round of the survey has been delayed – as was implementation of the first round of the program. But that doesn’t make the pressure any less understandable.
So in my quest to understand the gender dimensions of water supply this week, I stumbled upon a nice paper by Florencia Devoto and coauthors. They look at the effects of providing piped water in Tangiers, Morocco. The immediately cool thing about this paper is that they got something quite hard – randomization in an infrastructure project.
This week I want to talk about some interesting work that Gharad Bryan, Shyamal Chowdhury and Mushfiq Mobarak are doing in Bangladesh (policy note and presentation are online, paper coming shortly).
I recently came across a paper by Kelsey Jack which is a white paper for the J-PAL and CEGA Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI). This paper systematically explores the barriers to technology adoption that come from market inefficiencies, what we know about these, and what research is going on (under ATAI) to fill these gaps.
OK, let’s put two blog posts in a pot and stir. In a previous post on measuring consumption, Jed gave us some food for thought, while over on Aid Thoughts, Matt is talking about how a respondent is seeing the enumerator on the sly to conceal land that he doesn’t want his wife to know about. Put it together, and what do you have?
Following up on Michael’s post yesterday, I wanted to add a couple of thoughts.
One of the things I learned in my first field work experience was that keeping interviews private was critical if you wanted unbiased information. Why? I guess at the time it should have been kind of obvious to me – there are certain questions that a person will answer differently depending on whom else is in the room. We were doing a socio-economic survey of rural households in Ghana, and we thought that income, in particular, would be sensitive, since spouses tended to share information on this selectively and perhaps in a strategic way.