No one said it’s easy to run a randomized experiment!
· My colleague Leora Klapper and manager Asli Demirguc-Kunt have just released new global data on financial access around the World called the Global Findex, funded by the Gates Foundation.
Suppose that you’re told that a program reduced the rate of dropping out of school among 15 year-olds by 17% and this reduction was statistically significant. You are also told that the same figure among 12 year-olds is 38%. You would likely take note. Suppose now you’re told that these are the effects of a conditional cash transfer program, where the dropout rate among the control group is 37.7% and 16.8%, respectively for ages 15 and 12, thus the absolute effect sizes are 6.4 percentage points in each case.
An interesting new paper by Abhijit Banerjee, Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Esther Duflo, Daniel Keniston, and Nina Singh shows how sometimes top-down reforms might be a good move through a look at a range of reforms tried out by the police in Rajasthan, India.
A number of developed countries now have linked employer-employee records, although to date I haven’t seen as many papers doing cool things with such data as I would expect. A new paper in the AEJ-Applied (ungated here) by Andrey Stoyanov and Nikolay Zubanov uses Danish data to show what is possible, and help provide some of the most convincing evidence yet that workers carry firm knowledge with them when they move.
Lots of links this week:
· David Roodman summarizes the new microfinance impact evaluation research at the CGAP blog.
The majority of CCT programs with schooling conditions have been found to increase enrollment rates and attendance. Far fewer of the evaluations, however, report results on learning outcomes. Those that do typically find no gains in learning, at least as assessed by test scores. The 2009 CCT review report by Fiszbein, Schady, and others summarizes four studies that measure CCT impacts on learning outcomes. The first two use school-based testing data and find no impact on test scores.
Does improved human capital empower girls? An interesting paper by Willa Friedman, Michael Kremer, Ted Miguel, and Rebecca Thornton give us some insight into the answers.
One of the comments we got last week was a desire to see more “behind-the-scenes” posts of the trials and tribulations of trying to run an impact evaluation. I am sure we will do more of these, but there are many times I have thought about doing so and baulked for one of the following reasons: