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Blog links December 20th: Using impact evaluation for policy, being top of your class, labor mobility, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • The Economist on randomized trials coming of age: “When J-PAL started in 2003, RCTs were regarded as wacky. Critics said that doing a trial was like putting people in a cage and experimenting on them.”
  • Somewhat counterintuitive finding to me - The long-lasting benefits of being top in your class from CEP Centrepiece
  • In the latest issue of the Journal of Development Effectiveness, Gala Díaz Langou looks at how the impact evaluation of Bolsa Familia in Brazil has been used in policy – very interesting discussion, including the criticism of the program at the time of the launch that sounds familiar in today’s renewed debate about cash transfers – concerns it would generate negative incentives for labor; mistrust over whether beneficiaries would spend money as intended; debate over teach a man to fish vs give a fish. Also discussion of how some of the negative results on health outcomes were withheld from the media early on “since they didn’t contribute to the underlying objective of increasing the programme’s legitimacy”. This health data was also withheld from the public use microdata released. Also discussion of how the methodology was criticized (the design uses propensity score matching); and of how the slowness in releasing results may have diminished their impact since policy decisions were already made; discussion of how the IE contributed to the fine-tuning of the policy, and the difficulty of attribution of these changes to the IE alone.
  • A new series of notes on international labor mobility from the Center for Mediterranean Integration
  • Call for papers: the IZA/World Bank conference on employment and development to be held in Lima.
 
Three-quarters of Development Impact will be on summer break until January 13, while the other quarter will be on winter break. Happy holidays whichever hemisphere you will celebrate it in!