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Friday links July 20: Deworming debunked? Commitment savings, job and funding links, etc…

David McKenzie's picture

·         Has deworming been way overstated as a development intervention? Givewell summarizes a new Cochrane Review on its effectiveness…”The new Cochrane review finds that there is little evidence from studies of mass deworming programs to show that they improve nutrition, cognitive performance, or school outcomes….Two studies in one location in Kenya with extremely high worm prevalence found that a single deworming treatment caused weight gain, but seven more studies in different areas found no effect, and larger studies with multiple doses were even more inconclusive”.

UPDATED: Miguel, Kremer and colleagues respond here, while more discussion is on

·         Xavi Gine blogs on his work on commitment savings for farmers at the All about Finance blog.

·         Using random number generators in Stata – from the Stata blog.

·         Job opening: The World Bank's Development Impact Evaluation Initiative is looking for a senior health economist to lead a program of IEs in health. The program comprises 4 impact MNCH evaluations in Nigeria, the position is based at the World Bank HQ in Washington D.C.. See job posting here.

·         The Youth Employment Network (YEN) is inviting applications for technical and financial support in the development of impact evaluations of youth entrepreneurship programs in Sub-Saharan Africa. More information on the Fund and this call are available in the information note and the FAQ. Deadline is August 15.

·         3ie has a call for systematic reviews on a range of questions related to business development, agriculture, infrastructure and fragile states.

As always, follow me (@dmckenzie001) on twitter to get more links, such as this week:

·         RCT evidence that youth crime prevention program in Chicago has large positive effects.

·         A couple of brochures to parents leads to a semester more of STEM studies.


Submitted by Andrew on
A rather chilling excerpt from the deworming review: "The best example of publication bias comes from the DEVTA study of deworming and Vitamin A supplementation, conducted on a population of more than a million children in Lucknow, India from 1999 to 2004, which remains unpublished to this day . . . Results presented at a conference in 2007 (PPT) indicate that compliance was high but that the treatment did not cause a statistically significant reduction in mortality . . . the fact that such a large and important study remains unpublished eight years after the trial was completed and five years after a conference presentation conveying the key results speaks to the power of publication bias." Would love to know the full story.

Hi David, Thanks for the link to our post about the new Cochrane review. I just wanted to clarify that GiveWell doesn't think that deworming has been "debunked." We continue to recommend the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, a deworming charity, as our #2 overall recommendation. We do think that the new review raises important questions about publication bias and the representativeness of deworming studies, but the substantive findings are broadly the same as the previous Cochrane review. I'm sorry that the post didn't communicate that as well as it should have. Thanks, Alexander

Thanks for the clarification - the title was more for alliterative purposes (and note the question mark). I do think the review suggests debunking deworming as the cheapest way to increase schooling in most cases, which is how it is sometimes uncritically presented.