Published on Development Impact

Weekly links July 17: pricing products, phoning women, state capacity in Vietnam, and more..

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·       On VoxDev, Aruna Ranganathan summarizes her work on how artisans in developing countries set prices for their products – “Artisans in Channapatna, despite being poor, identify strongly with their work. They monetise their work output in accordance with the audience consuming it, offering significantly below-market prices to discerning audiences.”

·       In a CGIAR note, Muzna Alvi, Shweta Gupta, Ruth Meinzen-Dick and Claudia Ringler discuss challenges in conducting a phone survey of the effects of COVID-19 on women’s group members in India: “cellphone network challenges affected our ability to reach several rural women”;  “as households faced income losses, women’s cellphones were one of the first expenses to be cut from the household budget” – making women hard to contact; privacy was difficult “several women were answering the phone while on speaker, sometimes on their own volition, but often as a result of a request by spouses or in-laws”.

·       On Tuesday (July 21), Berk will be giving a virtual seminar on an ongoing adaptive trial he is working on to test different interventions designed to improve uptake of long-lasting contraceptives in Cameroon. Open to everyone.

·       Tyler Cowen interviews Melissa Dell: with lots of discussion on state capacity and long-run persistence in explaining part of current-day differences in development; her view on why she finds certain topics interesting “that’s part of the reason why having diversity is super important, because if you have more people with different backgrounds, they’ll ask different questions, which are all quite important. So in my case, a lot of the questions that I’m interested in — probably the reason I find them interesting does go back to things that happened in my childhood…I think part of my interest in security goes back to the fact that my parents both worked at an air force base when I was growing up, and I was surrounded by people in that world. There’s lots of examples like that that I could point to, that in many ways, the things that we as researchers find interesting are a product of our experiences and, oftentimes, the experiences that happened as a kid or in college.”; and given the links between temperature and economic growth, Tyler asks “should foreign aid subsidize air conditioning?”.

·       Reminder: the NBER summer institute Development economics program is Monday/Tuesday next week, and is being livestreamed on the NBER Youtube channel. As well as regular papers, from 4-5pm Monday afternoon there is a rapid-fire set of 5 minute presentations on new Covid-19 research.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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