Published on Development Impact

Blog links March 1, 2013: Still WEIRD, community grants, one-stop shops, pilgrim markets, and more…

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·         A new From Evidence to Policy note looks at the impact of a community grant program in Indonesia which gave grants to communities for health and education services. The program lowered malnutrition, and finds performance-based incentives lead to improved performance.

·         The latest Finance and PSD impact note examines work I did with Miriam Bruhn on the impact of trying to extend one-stop shop type registration processes into less populous municipalities in Minas Gerais, Brazil. We find this lead to a short-term reduction in registration rates, and no evidence that this spurred increased registrations.

·         The WEIRD paper: Pacific Standard has an interesting piece discussing how people in other cultures often behave differently in economics lab experiments and psychology experiments to those in Western (especially American) society (h/t Marginal Revolution). “Americans, without fully realizing it, were manifesting a psychological tendency shared with people in other industrialized countries that had been refined and handed down through thousands of generations in ever more complex market economies. When people are constantly doing business with strangers, it helps when they have the desire to go out of their way (with a lawsuit, a call to the Better Business Bureau, or a bad Yelp review) when they feel cheated... In the small-scale societies with a strong culture of gift-giving, yet another conception of fairness prevailed. There, generous financial offers were turned down because people’s minds had been shaped by a cultural norm that taught them that the acceptance of generous gifts brought burdensome obligations.” The IPA blog has a follow-up on how development economists are trying to overcome some of these concerns.

·         Can you get published for doing replication studies? A selection of published replications in political science on the Political Science replication blog.

·         The CSAE blog looks at market impacts of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in India - the claim is that the program increases the market wage for casual workers.

·         Notes from the field – the HBR blog discusses fieldwork being done to try and see how markets emerge during a once every 12 years Hindu festival that attracts 100 million people.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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