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Evaluating an Argentine regional tourism policy using synthetic controls: tan linda que enamora?

David McKenzie's picture
In 2003, the Argentine province of Salta launched a new tourism development policy with the explicit objective of boosting regional development. This included improving tourism and transport infrastructure, restoring historical and cultural heritage areas, tax credits for the construction and remodeling of hotels, and a major promotion campaign at the national and international levels.

Measuring Yields from Space

Florence Kondylis's picture

This post is co-authored with Marshall Burke.
One morning last August a number of economists, engineers, Silicon Valley players, donors, and policymakers met on the UC-Berkeley campus to discuss frontier topics in measuring development outcomes. The idea behind the event was not that economists could ask experts to create measurement tools they need, but instead that measurement scientists could tell economists about what was going on at the frontier of measuring development-related outcomes. Instead of waiting for pilot results, we decided to blog about some of these ideas and get inputs from Development Impact readers. In this series, we start with recent progress on measuring (“remote-sensing”) agricultural crop yields from space.

Do policy briefs change beliefs?

David Evans's picture
Impact evaluation evidence in developing countries is growing. In case we need evidence of that, here are two pieces: First, the cumulative number of IEs (by publication date) on improving learning from an array of systematic reviews published over the last couple of years, compiled by a colleague and I. Second, the cumulative number of IEs on reducing maternal and child mortality, from a recent systematic review (IEG 2013).

Weekly links Feb 6, 2015: research transparency, reliable 9% response rates, protests as a constraint to power, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • Ted Miguel is teaching a course on research transparency methods in the social sciences. Berkeley is posting the lectures on YouTube. Lecture 1 is now up.
  • Chris Blattman on a paper looking at how the tendency to publish null results varies by scientific field.
  • In Science, Jorge Guzman and Scott Stern on predicting entrepreneurial quality
  • Ben Olken’s forthcoming JEP paper on pre-analysis plans in economics: this is a very nuanced and well-written piece, discussing both pros and cons – it notes a reaction I am increasingly persuaded by, which is that RCTs don’t really seem to have a lot of data-mining problems in the first place…and also that “most of these papers are too complicated to be fully pre-specified ex-ante”…main conclusion is benefits are highest from pre-specifying just a few key primary outcomes, and for specifying heterogeneity analysis and econometric specifications – less clear for specifying causal chain/mechanisms/secondary outcomes which can too easily get too complicated/conditional.

Measured Profit is not Welfare or is it? Intriguing evidence from when microfinance clients gave up microfinance

David McKenzie's picture
I finally got around to reading an intriguing paper by Banerjee, Duflo and Hornbeck that has been on my reading list for a while. This paper is a nice example of making lemonade out of lemons – they had intended to evaluate a health insurance product that a microfinance organization in India made mandatory for its clients in selected villages.

Weekly links January 30: working from home redux, privacy, p-values and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • HBR provides an update on the working from home experiment done by Nick Bloom and co-authors. This experiment worked with China’s largest travel agency, and randomly choose workers to be allowed to work from home. They find workers are more productive when they do so. The interesting new finding is that when, at the end of the experiment, the treatment group was given a choice “half of the home-workers changed their minds and returned to the office and three quarters of the control group — who had initially all requested to work from home — decided to stay in the office” – the authors find it is the most productive workers who prefer to work from home.

Response to Brown and Wood's "How Scientific Are Scientific Replications? A Response"

Berk Ozler's picture
I thank Annette Brown and Benjamin Wood (B&W from hereon) for their response to my previous post about the 3ie replication window. It not only clarified some of the thinking behind their approach, but arrived at an opportune moment – just as I was preparing a new post on part 2 of the replication (or reanalysis as they call it) of Miguel and Kremer’s 2004 Econometrica paper titled “Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities,” by Davey et al. (2014b) and the response (Hicks, Kremer, and Miguel 2014b, HKM from hereon).  While I appreciate B&W’s clarifications, I respectfully disagree on two key points, which also happen to illustrate why I think the reanalysis of the original data by Davey et al. (2014b) ends up being flawed.