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Weekly links September 27: Environmental econ meets development; low cost schooling; evaluation challenges; and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • A new From Evidence to Policy note summarizes an evaluation of a program to bring low cost primary schools to the Sindh province of Pakistan. This included a program offering cash subsidies to private entrepreneurs to provide free, co-educational primary schools in villages in remote areas without local schools. 263 villages were randomly assigned to three groups: one got a subsidy per student, one a subsidy per student that was higher for girls, and then a control group. The evaluation found that boys and girls in villages that received program-supported private schools were more likely to be in school (30 percentage points) and they did better on tests (21 percentage points) than children in villages without such schools.
  • Kelsey Jack and Michael Greenstone have a new paper called “Envirodevonomics: A Research Agenda for a Young Field” which seeks to set out a research agenda for work at the crossroads of environment and development economics – and in particular, how to address the puzzle of environmental quality being so poor in many developing countries, but willingness to pay for improvements in this being low…”is the value of a life in Kenya, as suggested by the revealed preference data (Kremer et al. 2011), really 10,000 times lower than typical figures for the value of a statistical life in the United States?”
  • The InDecision blog has an interesting Q&A with behavioral economists and new MacArthur Grant awardee Colin Camerer, including good advice for young researchers: “it pays to specialize in a topic you find really interesting and explore it thoroughly using various tools. When you come up for tenure you want to be know as “Ms. Emotion and Risk” or “Mr. Overconfidence” or what have you….Another common mistake, in my opinion, is to invest too heavily in teaching pre-tenure…”
  • The Centre for Evaluation at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has a blog reflecting on its first year and key challenges they are facing in evaluations – this week on how they are trying to measure effectiveness of interventions in improving public health under “real-life” conditions and complexity.
  • The Stata blog discusses a new command in Stata 13 for exporting tables into Excel – this should definitely come in handy.
  • Quite a few replication datasets for papers on aid effectiveness, along with do files and code (h/t @PolSciReplicate).
  • Job opening: DIME is looking for a short-term consultant to work on an Initiative on Promoting Evaluation in Conflict-Affected and Fragile Situations.

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