Published on Development Impact

Weekly links July 21: Solow on labor markets, econ diversity, phone survey tips, a publishing checklist, and more…

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·       A set of resources for doing randomized evaluations of health care interventions from JPAL, including a checklist for publishing in medical journals (for example, register before the first participant enrols, and that registration in the AEA registry will not suffice for many medical journals), power calculations for health-studies, navigating US hospital IRBs, and more.

·       Orley Ashenfelter interviews 98 year old Robert Solow, who is still really clear and lucid – he talks about growing up in the depression, working on the Council of Economic Advisors under Kennedy, and his views on the importance of fairness in labor markets “you could not understand the development of wages unless you understood the fact that workers, wage earners themselves, have strong feelings about what was right and proper, and that employers either came to agree with them or thought that it was unwise to disagree too strongly with that. So I wanted to get that notion of fairness… I thought that you could not just do simple supply and demand in the labor market. You had to take account of the fact that these animals had strong feelings about what they were doing”.

·       Elisa Macchi and co-authors have a working paper documenting mental health in 14 European Economic departments, surveying both grad students and faculty. “Our data show high rates of depression and anxiety symptoms, as well as suicidal or selfharm ideation, loneliness, and impostor phenomenon among graduate students in European Economics departments. 34.7% of graduate students experience moderate to severe symptoms of depression or anxiety and 17.3% report suicidal or self-harm ideation in a two-week period. 59% of students experience frequent or intense impostor phenomenon…Untenured tenure-track faculty in Europe are as likely to have depression and anxiety symptoms as graduate students”. They end with some recommendations of what departments can do to promote better mental health and well-being.

·       On the IDInsight blog, Bhavya Khare shares experiences with doing phone surveys when you don’t have names of the people you are calling (e.g. a company shared the list of customer types and their phone numbers, but not their names).

·       On the CGD blog, Eeshani Kandpal writes about diversity, labels (e.g. “global” health vs health) and what is valued in economics vs what should be valued more: “Fundamentally, economics is the study of human behavior. But not all human behavior is given equal weight…Only considering research from high income countries “general interest” looks down on others as inferior and less valuable. The message this sends is that the one salient feature about people from LMICs is their income. And that the behavior of the 20 percent of the world in high income countries is worth a lot more attention than that of the remaining 80 percent.”

·       Conference calls for papers:

o   The 16th International Conference on Migration and Development will be at Boston University on October 2-3. Submission deadline August 5.

o   the Households in Conflict Network has a call open for submissions to a conference on Trust and Development in Conflict-Afflicted Economies. Submission deadline September 1, for a conference in Brussels on November 23-24.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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