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Economics has an Africa problem: take 3

Markus Goldstein's picture
A couple of months ago, Grieve Chelwa had a nice post on Africa is a country where he pointed out how few (or none) of the big name international academic development conferences are held in Africa and how few Africans there were on the editorial boards of the major economics journals.   He is right.
 

Is optimization just re-randomization redux? Thoughts on the recent ‘don’t randomize, optimize’ papers.

David McKenzie's picture
A couple of weeks ago, Berk blogged about a new paper by Bertsimas, Johnson and Kallus which argues that instead of randomization, it can be superior for power to choose the best of all possible allocations of subjects to treatment and control, where best is defined in terms of minimizing discrepancies in the mean and variance of the two groups.

Weekly links May 8: rainfall revisited, rethinking key results with long-term data, son preference, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

Getting Beyond Intrinsic Motivation in Service Provision: Let’s Talk Incentives

The guest post is authored by Ken Leonard
 
Intrinsic motivation is regularly promoted both as nostrum and portent in conversations about workers in service industries like education and health care. On the one hand, why do we have to focus so much on incentives: aren’t people in the service industry intrinsically motivated to do their job? And on the other, if we focus so much on incentives, aren’t we going demotivate those who are intrinsically motivated?

However, economists and policy makers in the health and education fields are often relying on imperfect definitions of intrinsic motivation.

Weekly Links May 1: Trends in Impact Evaluation, JHR Symposium on Empirical Methods, Superstar Inventors and more...

David McKenzie's picture
  • The Growth Economics blog hits hard with “there’s more to life to manufacturing”, among other things, making the point that even the way we code industries and occupations is heavily biased towards manufacturing and misses most of the action taking part in services growth.

Mystery clients in development research

David Evans's picture
When I turned 16, I got my first formal sector job at a movie theater. The theater was part of a large chain, and occasionally the head office would send mystery shoppers -- employees posing as moviegoers -- to test the quality of our customer service. A colleague of mine was put on probation for getting impatient with an elderly mystery shopper at the ticket window.

Are you teaching or taking a class in development economics in a developing country?

David McKenzie's picture
This is a joint post with Anna Luisa Paffhausen
 
We are currently conducting a study and survey on how development economics is taught in developing countries and would love your help getting the word out and/or participating.
 
Our survey is meant to be a stocktaking and study of whether and how developing economics is taught as part of an economics course in developing countries. We are focusing on undergraduate and masters level classes.
The aim is to use this to understand the following questions:
 

Weekly links April 24: When behavioral phenomena work and when they don’t, marketing skills for small businesses, spillovers, and much more…

David McKenzie's picture

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