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May 10 Links: early education and skills, tips for being a good researcher, carrots vs sticks in formalization, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • A new Finance & PSD impact note summarizes the findings of a recent experiment I did in Brazil testing different ways to formalize firms. This is one of the studies referred to in my Monday post on the illusion of information campaigns.
  • The latest From Evidence to Policy note from the World Bank’s Human Development group summarizes the results of a 20-year later follow-up of a program in Jamaica that targeted mothers of babies stunted due to malnutrition. “Twenty years later, the evaluation found that children who received the extra stimulation, whether with nutritional supplements or not, were earning more money than similarly stunted babies whose mothers received just nutritional supplements or no intervention” Note initial n=129, attrition is 23% at 20-year follow-up. A Q&A with Paul Gertler has a little information on how they followed up.
  • Duncan Green gives his take on blogging in big bureaucracies after a conversation with the World Bank’s social media team – apparently “No-one under 40 blogs at the Bank” according to one staff – call me No-one then…
  • The new issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives is, as usual, interesting reading. One review article looks at impacts of early child care programs, and writes from a meta-analysis: “average effect sizes vary substantially and studies with the largest effect sizes tended to have the fewest subjects”. The authors note that the declining effect size over time is likely due to the conditions for the control groups getting better – in the early studies it was program vs nothing, whereas these days kids not selected for the particular early child program are more likely to still end up participating in some form of alternative child care program.
  • On the FAI blog, Thea Garon summarizes a couple of papers on the reliability of self-reported data that appeared in the recent JDE special issue on measurement.
  • Advice for young researchers from Andrew Oswald (h/t Marginal Revolution): “Clarity of writing is more important than any other single thing….Having a really good Abstract and title are surprisingly helpful if you want to get past the desk-rejects and eventually have your work heavily cited…I would advise anyone to start writing articles, and submitting them to journals, as early as possible. Some young researchers get stuck polishing articles for years…I reckon the reason most researchers burn out in middle age is that they have gone obsessively narrow in their youth”
  • 5 new papers on education and skills summarized on the IDB Development that works blog.

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