Published on Development Impact

Weekly links February 19: field experiments in accounting, and the legal profession’s resistance to RCTs, when won’t scientists move?, and more…

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  •  On the 3ie blog, Manny Jimenez notes the glaring omission of evaluations of private sector programs during last year’s “Year of Evaluation”
  • On the Conversation, ideas42 shares what insights from behavioral economics tell us about how to help people with their finances
  • Floyd and List on using field experiments in accounting and finance: with a recommendation to work in developing countries because the potential for randomization is higher, the firms aren’t as big, and the setting is less complex.
  • Greiner and Matthews on the (limited) use of RCTs in the legal profession in the U.S. “The intensity of the United States legal profession’s resistance to the RCT is such that, viewed individually, each law RCT appears to be a unicorn, a magical creation with no origin story that appears briefly in a larger setting and then fades away.” They find more than 50 RCTs, but note that “what looking we were able to do generated no evidence that the results of an RCT in the United States legal profession were actually used, in the sense that a program or policy changed because of the study’s results.”…” even when researchers have been able to field RCTs in the United States legal profession, lawyers and judges sometimes undermined them. And the lawyers and judges who did so appeared to have a common motive: certainty as to the “right” answer.”
  • A new NBER working paper looks at career histories of over 10,000 elite life scientists to understand why and when scientists make decisions to move to new locations – with guidance for those of you trying to recruit senior faculty “we find a sizable drop in non-local mobility when scientists have children of high school age. Interestingly, scientists appear to anticipate these constraints by increasing moves just before their oldest child enters high school”. (see the big drop in movements of 50 miles or more at 15).Image



David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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