Blog Links May 23: the Science of Inequality, don’t knows, economics of online courses, and more…
Science this week has a feature section on inequality , which is ungated. Includes evidence on how hunter-gatherer tribes keep inequality in check ; Martin Ravallion on inequality in the developing world ; an excellent review by Johannes Haushofer and Ernst Fehr on the psychology of poverty (includes impacts of Give Directly cash transfers on happiness and cortisol; and discussion of an experiment in which people were given electric shocks to their hands during a risk-taking task to induce fear and stress!); and pieces by Deaton, Autor, Piketty and Saez, and more…Also a nice piece on how Chetty and Saez managed to get access to the IRS tax record data in the first place.
A reason not to have “I don’t know” as an option in surveys : women hold themselves to a higher level of certainty before expressing an opinion – so are more likely to choose this option if offered it.
The annual papers and proceedings version of the AER is now up. Lots of interesting short papers to browse, including several on large online courses. Banerjee and Duflo have a short paper on their global poverty online course : people who enroll even a day late do much worse on assignments than those who enroll by the deadline; Cowen and Tabarrok on the industrial organization of online course s – they predict courses will, likely video games, become team productions that cost millions to produce and cater to millions; for development readers there are also papers on insurance in the developing world, and on energy in the developing world.
In defense of micro-development – Mark Bellemare responds to a post mentioned in last week’s links, which questioned whether what much of development economics is today can properly be called development.
A nice polisci paper on how to present results using graphs instead of tables , and an associated website with R and (some) Stata code (h/t @MEDevEcon ). I hadn’t seen violin graphs before.
Chris Blattman on his new research in Uganda finding big benefits from cash transfers to the ultra-poor to spur entrepreneurship.