Published on Development Impact

Weekly links July 29: more on why people don’t migrate, firm upgrading, start-up packages for tenure-track jobs, and more…

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·         Thanks to all our readers who shared interesting stories, personal experiences, and research papers with me after my post this week on migration and the multiverse. Among those that might be of interest to our readers:

o   Heather Randell’s paper looks at the welfare impacts on rural households of being forced to move because of the construction of a dam in the Brazilian Amazon. Wealth and subjective well-being improved for most households – in part because of the compensation given for resettlement.

o   Ingelaere et al. have a paper summarizing the results of 75 in-depth qualitative interviews with rural-urban migrants in Tanzania, helping understand why they typically move to small towns first. One of the interesting fears and uncertainties they bring up is moving from a village environment to a money-based economy, where food has to be paid for instead of being freely available – as well as how binding liquidity constraints are.

o   This work from psychology by Anat Bardi and co-authors which uses a longitudinal study of Polish migrants in Britain, finding that how much they value self-direction and power changes with time in the UK to be more like British people.

·         If you missed the NBER summer institute, videos of the sessions are up on the NBER YouTube channel for the next four weeks. Eric Verhoogen’s master lecture on Firm Upgrading is a great overview of the literature and ways to think through policies and research questions on innovation and technology adoption.

·         Perfect reading for those on the job market soon: Emily Farris, Ellen Key and Jane Sumner have a short paper in PS: Political Science & Politics on what components are common in start-up packages offered to tenure-track faculty – the focus is on political science, but should be of interest for economists as well. “We focus on five broad topics: compensation and personal support, general support, research support, teaching support, and service and professional development…By sharing and describing what other recent assistant professors were able to negotiate in their start-up packages, we seek to empower job candidates with more of the knowledge necessary to navigate the start-up package bargaining process across a variety of institutions.”

·         On VoxDev, Paul Ferraro and Rhita Simorangkir look at the impacts on deforestation of Indonesia’s national CCT program. “Exploiting the staggered phase-in of PKH over time, we employed a linear, additive, two-way fixed effects panel data estimator using only the sample of 7,468 rural villages that were exposed to PKH sometime between 2008 and 2012….On average, exposure to PKH was associated with a 30% (~5.5 hectare/year/village) reduction in annual deforestation in a village…The analysis implies that the environmental impact of PKH was mediated through at least two channels:  1) consumption smoothing, whereby the PKH cash substituted for deforestation as a form of insurance; and 2) consumption substitution, whereby market-purchased goods substitute for deforestation-sourced goods.”

·         I’ve always been suspicious of a lot of the randomized trials in sports science since they seem to be done on ridiculously small samples of fit, male college students. Alex Hutchinson gives us another reason to be skeptical – even when reporting confidence intervals rather than odds ratios, published results look incredibly p-hacked/subject to extreme publication bias. “In much the same way that everything in your fridge both causes and prevents cancer, there’s a study out there somewhere proving that everything boosts endurance.”.

Development Impact will take a break for the month of August, and see you all back in September.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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