Published on Development Impact

Friday links November 2: impacts of online sexual education, Obama vs Romney ads, distance and voting, and more...

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·         The IDB Development that Works blog discusses an evaluation of an online sexual health program in Colombia provided to adolescents in public schools, finding positive impacts on knowledge and behaviors.

·         The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is looking for a director of economic programming to take the strategic lead on all their economic programs in 27 countries. Their job advert is here. One key task of interest to our readers is to “Contribute to the global body of knowledge and promote evidence-based programming, through initiating and supporting rigorous field evaluations, collaborating with academic institutions and disseminating and incorporating findings”.

·         Just in time for the election – results are in from an RCT on Obama and Romney ads played to swing voters – “Findings revealed that Obama ads consistently shift candidate preference (swing voters), but Romney ads significantly increase enthusiasm among Republican-leaning voters, which could yield a much higher turnout for him on Election Day.” Instead of just relying on self-reports of who they intend to vote for, they give respondents the option of either choosing which candidate $100 gets given to, or taking money away from the total being given to either candidate.

·         In more election-related work, on the VoxEU blog, John Gibson discusses the impact of small increases in distance and in the opportunity cost of time on the likelihood of voting – “Each extra kilometre – or two minutes’ driving time – to the nearest polling booth reduces turnout by one percentage point, all else the same”.

·         Chris Blattman critiques David Cameroon’s directions for UN foreign aid – “Small, achievable, measurable interventions are good. They are examples of the kind of marginal, evidence-based changes that people like Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo have been pushing, rightfully so. But do they belong at the heart of a strategic vision, one that at the same time places ambitious political transformation at its center? What’s astonishing to me is that the UN can spend two decades setting the world’s development agenda and never utter the words “industrialize”, “firms”, or “exports”.”

·         New funding opportunity: The Children and Violence Evaluation Fund has a call for proposals to support a new set of rigorous evaluations of interventions aimed at preventing all forms of violence against children in low- and middle-income countries.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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