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Friday links November 8: Halloween redux, aspirations, rants against the wrong questions, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • On the CSAE blog – the reverse couch potato effect-  the impact of inspirational movies on aspirations and short-term behavior – new work by Stefan Dercon, Tanguy Bernard, Kate Orkin and Alemayehu Taffesse. The blog post has a couple of examples of the movies used to show people in rural Ethiopia how people like them had made choices that had led to success.
  • Halloween Experiments: Jodi Beggs summarizes some previous experiments, and gives a first hand look at trick-or-treating research at Dean Karlan’s house this year.
  • Lauren Prather posts on An Africanist Perspective  about the politics of cash vs in-kind aid, based on experiments where people are asked their opinion on foreign and domestic aid, randomizing whether or not it is cash vs in-kind. Bottom line is that for foreign aid, it doesn’t matter whether it is cash or in-kind, they are equally likely to want to cut it, but for domestic aid, they are more likely to support cuts to cash aid than food aid.
  • Cash for Clunkers – an autopsy – Tim Taylor summarizes research on this program, along with a nice graph comparing the job creation costs of different programs in the US – most programs exceed 100K per job created.
  • How to write a hit paper:  new research in Science based on 17.9 million papers says hits are more likely for papers whichare anchored in substantial conventionality, not novelty, while mixing in a left tail of combinations that are rarely seen together; Novel combinations of prior work are rare, yet teams are 37.7% more likely than solo authors to insert novel combinations into familiar knowledge domains.
  • In case you missed a couple of rants this week:
  • Conference Call for Papers: PACDEV (the West Coast NEUDC) will be held at UCLA on March 15. Call for papers closes December 2nd.