It was also a Friday, on April 1, 2011 when we launched Development Impact. We're pleasantly surprised and quite pleased that we have kept it going this long -- there certainly were popular blogs back then that don't exist anymore (remember Aid Watch?); while others have become part of newspaper blogs (Monkey Cage is now part of Washington Post).
Posting multiple times a week is not easy, even for a team of 4-5 bloggers, and it has become part of our job rather than a hobby. But, it is a rewarding one: people who don't normally read blogs or don't have time tell us that they try to keep up with ours; the job market papers series has been a success -- valued by students and their advisors alike; various discussions and threads are part of many syllabi for development economics courses around the world; and we have about 2,500 subscribers in addition to the many who come to the site every week, multiple times. Some of us even ran an RCT to evaluate the impact of our blog and published a paper on it! We don't get a huge amount of comments, but when we do, they're really high quality. Many of you also email privately after blog posts you've enjoyed -- thanks for that.
If there is one minor regret that we have, it is that we still don't have a regular female blogger. This was not for a lack of trying -- even though we've tried nudge/encourage a few of our colleagues over the years, we just haven't had anyone willing to bite. Then again, it's not like we've had other men join either: our newbie Dave Evans is one of those people who manages to make it look like there are 26 hours in a day, but otherwise it's the original set of blokes that started the blog (see what Blattman had to say about them).
Since the blog is now old and we might have many readers who are new, we thought we'd celebrate by having everyone nominate their favorite blogs for reposting below. We've had quite a few very popular guest posts over the years, but we won't play favorites with those. So, enjoy a selection of 10 of our favorite old posts instead of the Friday Links:
- on how he still finds himself wanting to staple this to the cover letter of every paper he submits: A rant on the external validity double double-standard
- What is the economic impact of New Zealand winning the 2011 rugby world cup (Nov 2011) – a fun post and one of the few times I should be glad not to have enough statistical power (because New Zealand are just too good).
- The perfectionists versus the reductionists – a) because it was a really fun conversation to have with Jishnu as we wrote it, and b) these statistics are still out there…I just heard a policy maker use them in a speech the other week.
- On an issue I am still thinking about a lot: Hammers, wrenches, and development policy
Regression Discontinuity Porn (November 2013) – I love when economics actually manages to show results rather than just talk about them. And having the only World Bank blog post with “porn” in the title.
PacDev 2014: So Many Evaluations Packed Into So Little Time (March 2014) – This was the first of what has become a series of “summarize lots of papers in a couple of lines,” still my best way of consuming conferences.
- on probit vs. OLS; and on the effects of financial incentives on the motivations of public sector workers -- two posts that people still approach him or write him about,
- and a personal favorite on wellbeing as seen through the regrets of the dying.
As for myself:
- One of my first blog posts was also the one that generated the most discussion: Is there an unmet need for birth control? (You should check out the comments from what looks like a "who's who" list of researchers on family planning)
- I am still quite partial to: Working Paper are NOT Working
- And, finally, in this election year of truthiness, I still get reminded of my post on Misinformation and its Consequences
Thanks everyone for the support and the kind words over the years! Cheers,
Berk (on behalf of the rest of the bloggers).