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Weekly links October 6: A Bridge too far for Jishnu, reducing recruiting information frictions, cash transfers in Niger, improving tax collection in Brazil, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • On the future development blog, Jishnu Das discusses recent experiments on public-private provision of education in Liberia and Pakistan, takes on Bridge Academies, and highlights the importance of good measurement: “in Liberia, Romero et al. tracked students to ensure that schools could not “game” the evaluation by sending weaker children home: “We took great care to avoid differential attrition: Enumerators conducting student assessments participated in extra training on tracking and its importance, and dedicated generous time to tracking. Students were tracked to their homes and tested there when not available at school. Finding children who have left a school is like finding a needle in a haystack. In a country where only 42 percent have access to a cell phone, it’s heroism.”
  • On Straight Talk on Evidence, James Heckman and co-authors get taken to task for torturing data to overstate findings in a 2014 Science article on the long-term effects of the Abecedarian ECD program. Specific criticisms on sample size (and its reporting) and multiple comparisons. Response and a rejoinder follow the post...
  • On VoxDev, Lucie Gadenne summarizes her recent AEJ Applied paper showing that when municipal governments in Brazil improve tax collection, they spend more on local public goods like schooling infrastructure – in contrast to extra revenue received from oil royalties or federal government grants. Also on VoxDev, African cities are not in spatial equilibrium; and how pollution in China affects the productivity of call-centre workers.
  • A move to reduce information frictions in the junior recruiting market: Several departments (Notre Dame, Texas, Princeton, Williams, Stanford, Ohio State, UC Santa Barbara, BYU) have committed to posting information about their process on twitter under #EJMinfo. They will post when calls for ASSA interviews start and when flyout calls start. I am pleased that the World Bank’s research group will also do this (follow our director Asli, @ademirguckunt). There is also a petition underway for the AEA to create a job market data website.
  • A new from evidence to policy note summarizes the impacts of a cash transfer and behavioral change intervention on child development in Niger.
  • Ruth Levine spoke last week on "The moral case for evidence in policymaking": "Empirical analysis is not a substitute for the value judgments that inform a theory of justice in any society. But empirical analysis is an essential complement to those value judgments, helping to turn the 'what we believe' into the 'what we do.' Beyond the values of truth and justice, evidence-informed policymaking helps to realize the value of equality."
  • Our job market series is coming up (our call will go up later this month). If you want to weigh in on the number of job market posts we post, you can do so here.
  • Conference deadline: PACDEV will be at UCDavis on March 10, deadline is December 15 for submissions.
  • Funding opportunity: "The Economic Development and Institutions (EDI) initiative is calling for proposals...to rigorously test interventions and reforms to improve the effectiveness, accountability, and inclusiveness of public institutions in developing countries.