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Is It Better to Know than to Not Know?

Berk Ozler's picture

A 1994 song titled “Positive” by Spearhead goes:

“I should-a done this a long time ago

A-lot of excuses why I couldn't go

I know, these things and these things, I must know

'Cause it's better to know than to not know!

 

But how am I gonna live my life if I'm positive?

Is it gonna be a negative?

…”

 

Better Nutrition Through Information

Markus Goldstein's picture

In honor of Labor Day here in the US, I want to talk about a recent nutrition paper by Emla Fitzsimons, Bansi Malde, Alice Mesnard and Marcos Vera-Hernandez.   This paper, “Household Responses to Information on Child Nutrition,” is one with a twist – they look not only at nutrition outcomes, but they also try and figure out where these might be coming from – and hence also look at labor supply.  

Power of the Pill or Power of Abortion?

Berk Ozler's picture

I am a dual citizen of two countries, both of which legalized safe abortions when I was little or young, meaning that I grew up taking a woman’s right to a safe abortion as granted. Usually, when I hear family planning policy, I think of men and women planning the number, the timing, and the spacing of their children with the aid of modern contraceptives.

Health effects of non-health programs

Berk Ozler's picture

The previous post in this blog discussed the positive dynamic effects of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs in Mexico and Nicaragua – in particular on asset accumulation and the incidence of entrepreneurship by the rural poor.

Early Childhood Interventions Conference

Owen Ozier's picture

Why aren't all early childhood interventions most effective at the same age?  Should we be checking that our randomizations are balanced according to genes that influence behavior?  Should we be gathering biological outcomes, in addition to economic ones, even when the intervention does not involve biology?

Early childhood interventions - usually working through either health or education – can have very long-lasting effects, some of which are even transmitted to the next generation.  Two weekends ago, the Chicago Initiative for Economic Development and Early Childhood (CEDEC) held a conference to survey what is known in this area and provide a forum for sharing findings from recent projects.

In today's post, I highlight a few bits of the presentations that taught me something I didn't know, gave me a reference I wanted to hold on to, or put old findings in a new perspective.

What do people mean when they talk about “transactional sex”?

Berk Ozler's picture

If you are interested in HIV prevention, at some point you are likely to have heard “transactional sex” discussed as one of the issues. However, I find this discussion to usually be awkward and confused, especially among Western audiences: the user is feeling somewhat uncomfortable using the term and the audience is having trouble understanding what it is she exactly means. The frameworks we have in the U.S. are dating on one end and commercial sex work on the other.

When it comes to female education, have we gotten it all backwards?

Berk Ozler's picture

To get children to attend school in developing countries, our approach has been primarily to assume that the schooling that is available is worth pursuing, meaning that the problem must be with some barrier to go to school despite a great desire to do so: perhaps the family cannot afford the costs of schooling; perhaps the schools are not good or too far; perhaps the children want to be in school but the parents prefer food today to educated daughter tomorrow; maybe people don’t know the value of schooling, etc.

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