Published on Development Impact

Weekly links Feb 21: Educational Technologies, after-school programs to reduce youth violence, cars make you fat, and more…

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·       A forthcoming JEL piece on Upgrading Education with Technology: Insights from Experimental Research focuses on developed country experiences, but may be of interest still to many readers. They consider four areas: access to technology, computer-assisted learning, technology-based behavioral interventions in education, and online courses. Their main conclusions include that access alone doesn’t do much for learning; adaptive computer-assisted learning has great promise, especially for mathematics; online only courses don’t teach as well as blended learning or face-to-face – but can offer benefits at the extensive margin by teaching content that students wouldn’t otherwise be taught; behavioral reminders such as text messages to parents reminding them to read to kids or reminders about college aid deadlines have had positive impacts.

·       What do the more than 150 PhD economists do inside Amazon? A detailed CNN story from last year that I only just came across courtesy of @CFCamerer

·       Does owning a car hurt your health? One of my favorite sports journalists, Alex Hutchinson, summarizes a study that uses a lottery for car permits in Beijing to measure the impact of acquiring a car. Winners spend “24.2 fewer minutes each day walking or biking than the non-winners” and “Overall, the winners gained an average of just more than two kilograms, a difference that was not statistically significant. But the effects were more obvious when looking only at winners aged 50 or older: They gained an average of 10.3 kilograms, a statistically significant and worrisome increase.”.  Caveat: survey response rate was only 22%, confidence intervals are wide, and heterogeneous effects a bit ad hoc.

·       The Probable Causation podcast interviews Lelys Dinarte of the World Bank’s research group about her work on after-school programs as a way of reducing violence in El Salvador. One interesting tidbit was how the lack of data in a developing country setting made it easier to convince partners to do an experiment – since it precluded doing difference-in-differences due to a lack of data on violent behavior before the program was about to start.

·       Slides from Chris Hanretty’s short course on how to convert to using R

·       EDI Global is recruiting a Survey Operations Manager and an Assistant Research Officer


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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