Published on Development Impact

Weekly links December 12: risk and entrepreneurship, changing opinions, IE in times of crisis, and more…

This page in:
  • A new 3ie paper on methods for doing impact evaluations of humanitarian assistance (h/t Chris Blattman): “Since 2005, more than US$90 billion has been spent on humanitarian assistance….Yet, very few impact evaluations are being conducted.”
  • With job market season upon us, Chris Blattman offers his advice for negotiating an academic job offer.
  • A new paper in Science this week shows how contact with minorities can change opinions: “LaCour and Green demonstrate that simply a 20-minute conversation with a gay canvasser produced a large and sustained shift in attitudes toward same-sex marriage for Los Angeles County residents. Surveys showed persistent change up to 9 months after the initial conversation. Indeed, the magnitude of the shift for the person who answered the door was as large as the difference between attitudes in Georgia and Massachusetts.”
  • How insuring against downside risks can help foster entrepreneurship: Nick Bunker discusses a new working paper which “allowed unemployed workers who start a new business to keep the right to their unemployment benefits for up to three years. They could use the accrued benefits to make up the difference between their business’s revenue and the level of benefits they would have otherwise received…. Workers who before would have been hesitant to start a business may be more likely to do so now that they had some protection against downside risk. The new paper documents that the rate at which firms were created increased by 25 percent after the 2002 reform.”
  • The long-term effects of fasting during Ramadan: “adult outcomes of Muslim men living in Denmark who were in utero during Ramadan. … They find that men who were in the 7th month of gestation when Ramadan occurred had significantly lower labor market outcomes. Employment for these men was 2.6 percentage points lower, and their annual income was 5.3 percent less than a worker who did not have any in utero period overlap with Ramadan.” – from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth Blog.
  • Tim Taylor discusses the new behavioral economics WDR, and in particular, the work in it showing development professionals are also subject to behavioral biases.
  • I’m still looking for a research assistant – see last week’s links for information.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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