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Friday links February 22: Retirement Savings, Pre-K, lab volunteers aren’t so WEIRD and more…

David McKenzie's picture

·         On the FAI blog, Jonathan Morduch discusses what’s next in microfinance, in terms of how experiments can move towards allowing greater external validity.

·         A claim that volunteers for lab experiments are really not that different in how they play dictator, ultimatum and trust games from a representative sample of a city’s population..”the convenient sample of self-selected college students that allowed a boom in human experimentation in both social and natural sciences produces qualitatively and quantitatively accurate results” - based on a study in Spain.

·         Obama for America’s chief scientist describes how they used experiments to figure out how many emails to send asking for donations, and who they should be from, in the Tartan: “You couldn’t just say that it’s going to work, so go ahead and do it. We had to almost prove everything using randomized experiments”

·         Five common myths on pre-K evidence in Education week – discussion of how a mix of experimental and quasi-experimental evidence give more support for pre-K effects and help overcome the critique that the experimental evidence is just from a couple of very small samples. And if you missed it, see Markus’s discussion this week of evidence for the benefits of daycare in developing countries.

·         Just as we were starting to think behavioral economics was solving the retirement savings puzzle through opt-in defaults into employer programs, two recent reasons to be concerned: the Squared Away blog reports on research that shows employers appear to respond to auto-enrolment by lowering their match contribution; and this NY Times piece noting that most plans auto-default workers to saving too little.

You can tweet me any other interesting links you come across (@dmckenzie001).

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