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The strange case of missing textbook impacts

Shwetlena Sabarwal's picture
Public programs are designed on assumptions - nice, tidy, convenient assumptions. Then they hit the real world and very little goes as planned. The culprit, some philosophically inclined would argue, is human behavior. After all, human beings are impossible to predict. They can react in ways entirely unexpected and fairly baffling …

… until you dig deeper.

Notes from the field: The danger of programs that pay for performance

Markus Goldstein's picture
I was recently working with an implementing agency to design an impact evaluation and we were having trouble reaching a point where there was going to be a viable impact evaluation that answered big questions about the efficacy of the intervention.   Looking back, part of the problem was that this agency was the implementer, not the funder.   And they were paid by the funder based on reaching a certain number of people and having those people participate in the program.
 

Curves in all the wrong places: Gelman and Imbens on why not to use higher-order polynomials in RD

David McKenzie's picture
A good regression-discontinuity can be a beautiful thing, as Dave Evans illustrates in a previous post. The typical RD consists of controlling for a smooth function of the forcing variable (i.e. the score that has a cut-off where people on one side of the cut-off get the treatment, and those on the other side do not), and then looking for a discontinuity in the outcome of interest at this cut-off. A key practical problem is then how exactly to control for the forcing variable.

Blog links August 1: Classic ideas in development revisited, guide to behavioral economics, education and crime, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
The latest issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives contains a symposium on classic ideas in development: Doug Gollin on the Lewis model, Chang-Tai Hsieh and Ben Olken on the missing middle, Rafael La Porta and Andrei Shleifer on informality, and

Justification for Attending that Next Conference (or at least having that lunch meeting with people from the other building)

David McKenzie's picture
Co-authorship has become increasingly common in economics, rising from 28 percent of publications in top journals in 1973 to 55% in 1993 and 79.6% in 2011. But are people collaborating as much as they should, or do search frictions prevent productive collaborations from taking place?

Weekly links July 25: better schools equals less risky teen health behaviors, helping young female entrepreneurs, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

Blog links July 18: growth mindsets, empowerment, whether to cluster errors, education lessons and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • Measuring empowerment on the from poverty to power blog: “breaking down the fuzzword ‘empowerment’, into the ‘four powers’ (power within; power with; power to and power over) model”…” you just can’t rock up in a village and ask do you feel empowered?’ and expect to get a useful result”

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