Published on Development Impact

Weekly links August 7: referee “frequent flier” points, data-cleaning, formality and growth, entrepreneurship, and more…

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  • The Political Science journal P.S. has a special issue on How to Better Communicate Political Science’s Public Value. Brendon Nyhan has a paper on a proposal for journal reforms which includes the idea of a Frequent-Flier system for journal reviewers “Each review would earn a scholar a specific number of points, with bonuses awarded by editors for especially timely or high-quality reviews. To request a rapid review of their own manuscript, authors then could redeem those points when they submit to that particular journal”
  • Marc Bellemare continues his metrics Mondays series with a post on data-cleaning: “Really, there is no big secret to cleaning data other than “Document everything” and to save everything in different files and in different locations”
  • Somehow I missed this June policy forum in Science  on Entrepreneurship: “two defining features of VC investments are an extremely skewed distribution of outcomes and an inability to tell—up front—which will be successful.” (open-access link) and this from their interview with two venture capitalists “The people that get lost in the weeds in the science are usually poor investors, because if you ever really thought about how much risk there was in these things, you would never invest in anything. And so you have to do this based on a belief and faith that big problems that people will tell you are not solvable are solvable.” And “People who go to conferences are chasing old science, actually. If you don’t know about it a year ahead of when it’s presented at the conference, then you’re probably not up to speed on where the technology is.” Also an interview with Paul Romer about his experience starting a business to do online tutoring.
  • I’ve been asked several times about what we know about the transition to formal work as countries develop rapidly. Brian McCaig and Nina Pavcnik have a nice piece on VoxEU describing this formalization process during a 10-year period of rapid growth in Vietnam.
  • Reminder that August 15 is the deadline for submissions to NEUDC, to be held at Brown University November 7-8.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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