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Friday links November 9: African IE, poverty affects decision-making, paternalism and financial decision-making, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

·         Reminder: submissions for the BREAD conference on Development in Africa to be held at the World Bank in Match are due November 15th. Details are here.

·         Reminder: Blog your job market paper is back.

·         Tim Harford on trial registries.

·         In Science last week, Sendhil Mullainathan and co-authors report on a set of 5 lab experiments intended to explore how poverty affects decision-making. They have participants play games like Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, and Angry Birds, and mimic poverty by randomizing how many guesses individuals get, how long they have to solve puzzles, or how many shots they have. Participants play multiple rounds, and in some cases are able to borrow from future rounds. They find that scarcity changes how people allocate attention – causing them to focus more on the problem at hand and neglecting the future – resulting in overborrowing.

·         On the FAI blog, Tim Ogden interviews Dean Yang and Xavi Gine on the issue of paternalism – how much should microfinance organizations try and control what borrowers do with a loan?

·         Over at the CGD blog, Justin Sandefur discusses the recent special issue of the Journal of African Economics on Impact Evaluation in Africa. He notes that “it’s worth noting that the special issue brings together papers co-authored by some of the most interesting African scholars doing serious applied research in development — Isaac Mbiti of Kenya, Harounan Kazianga of Burkina Faso, and Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse of Ethiopia. It’s great to see impact evaluation in Africa being done rigorously, by some of Africa’s top scholars, and not shying away from big questions of relevance to African policymakers.”.  Of course under the crazy rules of some grant-makers (you know who you are) none of these guys count as African anymore since they’ve migrated to developed countries…