Published on Development Impact

Weekly links February 12: Design us a new logo, spatial discontinuity in 1893, policing research, and more…

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·       Design a new logo for us! As we approach our 10-year birthday for the blog, we would like to replace our “meteor impacting the earth” default picture with something that better conveys impact evaluation and is only at most econometrically threatening. The challenge is coming up with something good to replace it with. We would like to hire (ideally from a developing country) an artist/someone with an artistic side who can come up with a new design (which we will pay for). Anyone interested should send an example of their work and a short paragraph of who they are to But please, if you are a blog reader and have a great idea, please share it, even if you don’t consider yourself artistic.

·       A very early example of spatial discontinuity: Martin Ravallion notes that in addition to John Snow’s famous early work showing how a difference-in-differences approach could help identify the source of cholera, in 1893, a German microbiologist and medical doctor Robert Koch uses a border discontinuity to identify that cholera was waterborne.

·       In Science this week, Ba et al. use open-record requests to get data from the city of Chicago on police officers’ demographics (most importantly race and gender), which they linked to stops, arrests, and uses of force, and to daily patrol assignments. They put together a panel of 2.9 million officer shifts and 1.6 million enforcement events by nearly 7000 officers covering the years 2012 through 2015, and then compare officers of different races or genders working in the same assigned “beat” on the same shift, day of week, and month and year. The headline finding is that “Relative to white officers, Black and Hispanic officers make far fewer stops and arrests, and they use force less often, especially against Black civilians. These effects are largest in majority-Black areas of Chicago and stem from reduced focus on enforcing low-level offenses”.

·       Conference calls for papers:

o   3rd International Conference on Globalization and Development, to be held July 5-6 in Göttingen/virtually, with papers due Feb 22.

o   Advances in Field Experiments conference, to be held Sept 23-24 in Chicago/virtually, with abstracts due May 28.

o   NBER Development economics program as part of the summer institute, to be held virtually July 26-27, with papers due April 5.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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