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Submitted by Berk on
Dear Anonymous, Thanks for these comments -- as my co-blogger David said once, I get the best comments. The sentence, only part of which you quoted, goes like this: "If you finished your abstract by stating that “X has important implications for Y” when actually your paper showed X reduced Z, which is a self-reported proxy of Y, many policymakers and development practitioners who repeat your results to others, who design follow-up programs and policies, will only remember your bottom line. When it comes to important policy, no information may be better than misleading information." Now, from the full sentence, it is clear that it is addressing people who write research papers. What may not have been so clear, especially to you, is that policymakers and development practitioners, who are the audience of these researchers, include World Bank staff, staff of other multilateral agencies, NGOs, government officials, AND other researchers. So, I don't see how this statement is paternalistic when I am part of the same audience and am talking about my colleagues near and far in the development community. As for those WB briefs that may be based on half-bit evidence: my post is about a specific topic of measurement of outcomes, with examples and warnings pertaining to those. I had not considered writing a treatise on all kinds of other problems with research. I am sure what you describe happens -- just as I cannot take credit for the good things the World Bank staff do, I cannot accept blame for their sins. Berk.