Published on Development Impact

Weekly links June 11: discussing management improvements, parenting interventions and forgetting schooling, migration pressures in the short and long term, and more…

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·       Jordi Blanes i Vidal interviews me about my work with Leo Iacovone and Bill Maloney on improving management through group-based consulting in Colombia in the latest episode of the Visible Hand podcast. This is a great podcast series, in which he reads the paper really carefully and then does a deep dive into the paper, leading to a fun discussion. After seeing the results, one of his questions was “why isn’t the government in Colombia scaling this up massively to offer it to all industries?”, which made me laugh to myself, since the other common question we get about government support for consulting services is “Why should the government spend any money at all on supporting private firms to improve their management?”. Many of the earlier episodes will be of interest to our readers as well – e.g. Isabela Manelici discusses her work in Costa Rica on the effects of joining multinational supply chains; Zoë Cullen discusses her work on the gender pay gap in a large commercial bank in Asia and how it is related to socialization with managers;  and Raffaella Sadun discusses how to measure communication within large organizations.

·       As a nice follow-up to my blogpost last week on scaling up interventions, SIEF has just released their first “Evidence File”, which summarizes the literature on parenting interventions. They conclude “results have been mixed, with high impacts on children when parenting interventions are small scale and when implementation has been organized by research teams….[but] incorporating parenting programs into existing national nutrition programs or social safety nets has not been a huge success.”

·       “Migration pressures from the Northern Triangle follow two starkly different patterns: long waves that last decades and short spikes that last months. The former, perhaps paradoxically, are symptoms of rising prosperity in the countries from which migrants hail, whereas the latter stem from crises and shocks. Any successful agenda focusing on root causes must distinguish between these two patterns of migratory pressure—encouraging the economic gains that drive long-wave migration while preventing the kinds of emergencies that drive short-wave surges.” – Michael Clemens writes in Foreign Affairs, and stresses the need to set up more pathways for regular migration.

·       Martin Ravallion on what to do about top income-earners who don’t answer surveys.

·       The PRIO Migration Centre offers a guide to 29 different migration journals.

·       On Let’s Talk Development, Natalie Bau, Andres Yi Chang and Jishnu Das provide new evidence on the learning trajectories of Pakistani students as they go from 3rd through to 6th grade. Despite the “schooling isn’t learning” crisis, they find “children do learn in every grade. For instance, 58% of children could correctly multiple “4 x 5” in grade 3, and this fraction then increases to 60%, 73% and 79% in each subsequent year”…and that students in the bottom of the education distribution learned more…but, with no surprise to those of you trying to help their kids with subjects you haven’t studied in a long time “performance in school has as much to do with forgetting as it does with learning”.

·       The Stata Blog has posts on creating customizable tables with the new Stata 17 table and collect commands (part 1, part 2).

·       Another set of summer workshops to view on Zoom – the Barcelona Summer Forum. Next week (June 14-15) is the micro development workshop.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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