Published on Development Impact

Weekly links February 9: cash, gender and career advice, school-based internet, being an applied econometrician, and more…

This page in:

·       The IEA interviews Belinda Archibong as their featured economist of the month. She discusses how she got interested in economics, her work on how colonial and post-colonial institutions continue to influence power and inequality and development, obstacles to pandemic response in Nigeria, advice for younger researchers from low-income countries “Your voice is extremely needed and valuable, and it’s completely ok to share your thoughts with senior scholars”, as well as some suggested networks that she has found helpful. The whole series of interviews is great and worth browsing through.

·       In this Becker Friedman Institute brief, Yana Gallen and Melanie Wasserman summarize their experiment on how gender causally affects the advice and information students get about career paths. “a large-scale field experiment wherein undergraduate students interested in learning about various careers sent messages via an online professional platform. The messages, sent by students to 10,000 randomized recipients asked preformulated questions seeking information about the professional’s career path… Professionals are more than two times as likely to provide information on work/life balance issues to female students relative to male students…. The vast majority of these mentions of work/life balance are negative and increase students’ concern about this issue. At the end of the study, female students report being more deterred than male students from their preferred career path”

·       Peter Coy’s New York Times newsletter “Do handouts work?” covers the research on unconditional cash transfers and interviews Berk. “He has his doubts about the long-term effectiveness of cash transfers, whether unconditional or conditional. “The short-term positive effects on a multitude of outcomes can dissipate after the cessation of transfers,” he and his co-authors wrote in their 2021 assessment. In a video call, Özler said advocates of unconditional cash transfers once hoped that when people got the money they needed, all their other problems would be solved. That hasn’t been the case, he said. If you want kids to be better educated, for example, the most effective way is to offer aid that’s conditioned on making sure they’re in school, not just hand out money. He recommends layering some strings-attached aid to achieve particular social objectives on top of some no-strings-attached aid as a safety net for the poorest of the poor.”

·       On VoxDev, Leah Lakdawala and Eduardo Nakasone look at the impacts of school-based internet on test scores in public primary schools in Peru. “Our short-run results (based on up to one year after internet installation) confirm that any effects of school-based internet access are small in magnitude—and thus perhaps impossible to detect in smaller samples of schools that are typical of randomised control trial (RCT) evaluations of schooling ICTs. On the other hand, medium-run gains are sizable, pointing towards the necessity of a longer evaluation window for understanding the effectiveness of ICT interventions.” “a second-grade student in a school that has had internet for five years performs 0.11 standard deviations better on mathematics tests than a second-grade student at the same school before internet has been installed. The trajectory of estimated effects implies that, over time, schools become more efficient at using the internet to improve students’ test scores.”

·       VoxDev also has version 2 of the Mobile Money VoxDevLit now out. I like the format of showing the updates in green – lots of new data on mobile phone ownership patterns and the growth of mobile money around the world, updated information on regulations and new studies on adoption, and a new section on mobile credit and banking services are among the updates.

·       Podcasts: Scott Cunningham interviews Jeff Wooldridge: among other things, they discuss how he did not do well on standardized tests but could still do well as an econometrician, how a collaboration came about in part through co-teaching a summer class, what it means to be an applied econometrician, and more. And with Valentine’s Day next week, Planet Money has this nice episode I finally caught up on “to all the econ papers I’ve loved before” -   with examples of papers that have drawn people into economics


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000