As empiricists, we spend a lot of time worrying about the accuracy of economic and socio-behavioral measurement. We want our data to reflect the targeted underlying truth. Unfortunately misreporting, either accidental or deliberate, from study subjects is a constant risk. The deliberate kind of misreporting is much more difficult to deal with because it is driven by complicated and unobserved respondent intentions – either to hide sensitive information or to try to please the perceived intentions of the interviewer. Respondents who misreport information for their own benefit are said to be “gaming”, and the challenge of gaming extends beyond research activities to development programs that depend on the accuracy of self-reported information for success.
The World Bank’s Financial Access Database, which has quite recent representative data for most countries in the world, indicates that in Africa, for instance, only about a quarter of the population has a bank account. And less of them use it.
There has been much discussion around the World Bank on the choice of a "global poverty target" that can be used to measure global progress against poverty. To be successful, such a target needs to be (a) simple to understand, and (b) relevant to all World Bank client countries.
· In Nature, the push-back from scientists against Galor and Ashraf’s forthcoming AER paper on the impact of genetic diversity on per-capita incomes.
A 1994 song titled “Positive” by Spearhead goes:
“I should-a done this a long time ago
A-lot of excuses why I couldn't go
I know, these things and these things, I must know
'Cause it's better to know than to not know!
But how am I gonna live my life if I'm positive?
Is it gonna be a negative?
Christel Vermeersch, our World Bank colleague from the HD group, just sent us this request, which she asked us to share with our blog audience to see if you have any lessons to share:
Dear friends and colleagues,
One popular solution to unemployment is to provide the unemployed with more skills through training. However, the impacts of vocational training in developed countries have been at most modest.
· Call for papers : BREAD conference on Africa at the World Bank. Submissions due November 15, conference is at the start of March next year.