Published on Development Impact

Weekly links February 19: Interviews with economists galore, Stata heat maps, teacher of the year, and more…

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·       Design a new default picture for us! We got a couple of people contacting us after we announced this last week, but made a mistake in describing it as a “logo”, leading to most of the responses we got coming from people pitching us their skills with corporate logos. We are looking for a nice artistic picture that conveys something about impact evaluation to replace our “meteor impacting the earth” default picture – not a logo.  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

·       Minneapolis Fed interview with Seema Jayachandran: including a story I hadn’t heard before of how she moved from planning on doing a physics PhD to doing development economics; and then a nice dive into quite a few of her research papers.

·       A guide to creating heat maps in Stata from Asjad Naqvi

·       NPR’s Goats and Soda blog discusses the work of Joshua Blumenstock and collaborators on using satellite imagery and the way people use their cellphones to help target cash transfers to poor people in Togo during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also on the Goats and Soda blog, an Indian village teacher wins a $1 million prize for the world’s most exceptional teacher.

·       Some podcasts/videos:

o   Econfact interview with Lant Pritchett about poverty reduction “The phenomena of high levels of poverty by thresholds like extreme poverty is fundamentally one of being in poor places. When you have very high levels of poverty, it isn't that you have poor people, it's that you have people trapped in low productivity and hence poor places… in Vietnam, the poverty rate went from more than half of the country to only 2.5% in the span of just 20 years. That was because it wasn't that the people of Vietnam were intrinsically poor or had characteristics that didn't allow them to be more productivity, it was that Vietnam was a low productivity place and rapidly became, through economic growth, a high productivity place. So yes, when you think about poverty in the developing world, it's much more helpful to think of poor places than it is to think of poor people.”

o   Dany Bahar interviews Raffaella Sadun in his Economists on Zoom getting coffee about her work on management “often I see surveys with 18 questions used to measure 18 things, and at the end of the day you have so much noise in the data that after all that effort it is very hard to use it…so have one idea, one concept you want to measure and go all out”; and another with  on trade and development.

o   The Indicator from Planet Money has one of its unsung economist episodes on Arthur Lewis

·       I’m looking forward to seeing the econ version of “Birds are pretty weird. I mean, they have feathers. WTF? Most other animals don’t have feathers”.  


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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