Published on Development Impact

Weekly links Feb 14: the Indian economy, introducing your paper, epic failures, innovation vouchers, and more…

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·       Marc Bellemare on the responsibility to review for journals you submit to – don’t’ be an “always taker, never giver”.

·       The Winter 2020 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives is full of articles of interest to development economists – including three papers on the economics of India, two on electricity in developing countries, and two on assimilation of refugees (remember all articles are open access).

·       Dave Evans diagrammed the introductions of a whole bunch of applied micro development papers in top journals (along with some from not-so-top journals) and summarized what he learned – with this great summary “One reason that so many introductions in top journals have a similar pattern is that it’s clear: you tell the reader why the issue you studied is important, you tell them what you did, you tell them what you learned, and you tell them how it builds on what we already knew. You might tell them how it relates to policy or what the limitations of your work are. Interested readers can dive into the details of the paper, but good introductions give casual readers a clear sense of what they’ll get out of your paper”

·       Ben Olken’s class lecture on “My epic failures” detailing examples of all the times his ideas have failed to turn into a paper.  (h/t @seema_econ). If you want more stories of failures, see our collection of posts on failures here, including several posts on a number of evaluation failures I’ve been part of – although I emphasize more than his slides that many of these failures can still become papers or at least be documented so others can learn from them.

·       The AEA RCT registry now has a data page, which includes a dataverse page to download monthly snapshots of the registry data – so you can get metadata on all 3,300 registrations, and a change history page, where you can see changes in this database over time.

·       On the IGL blog, the long-term impacts of innovation vouchers to Dutch firms – “12 years after the RCT, firms in the treatment group compared to firms in the control group have a higher business survival rate (plus 4%), use the labour-based R&D tax credit scheme more often (plus 5%), have a higher level of R&D activities (plus 12% more hours) and offer more employment (plus 12%)”.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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