Published on Development Impact

Weekly links June 4: summer learning, how space constraints make papers longer, aid targets the easy to reach, and more…

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·       The Master Schedule for the NBER Summer institute is now up. Looks like it is all on zoom, so a chance to potentially attend sessions that you might not otherwise do so. The Development and Productivity session is on July 21; the Development sessions are July 26-27;  and the Labor Studies sessions also look really interesting. One noticeable thing when browsing through the sessions is the almost complete absence of any papers about COVID-19.

·       Why does aid not target the poorest? Ryan Briggs on VoxDev argues that ease of implementation is one reason – including a survey experiment with World Bank operational task team leaders to understand how they think different factors enter into project targeting decisions.

·       Interesting discussion by Michael Makowsky of the space problem in top journals and how this exacerbates the tendency for massive long papers with many appendices “In 1950 the top 5 journals probably could have published every single full research paper written by super stars and still had room to spare. Nowadays I’m not sure the top 5 research journals could handle the research output in a given year just from MIT”…the consequence is the editor is left with the decision to half of the really good papers that make important contributions to the field, and needs some reasons to do so, so “let’s go through those referee reports again. Was there anything questionable? Any possible source of bias speculatively hypothesized by a person who spent two days thinking about the paper that the people who worked on it for three years never thought of? Are they relying on econometrics that someone has recently posited might sometimes fail to calculate the errors terms optimally?”.

·       Dave Evans has a review on the CGD blog of Bédécarrats, Guérin, and Roubaud’s 450-page edited volume—Randomized Control Trials in the Field of Development: A Critical Perspective.

·       Scott Cunningham explains another new DiD paper – John Gardner’s two-stage difference-in-differences approach.

·       Call for proposals for papers on Vietnam that aim to understand the drivers of labor productivity growth in Vietnam in recent years; links from the labor market to poverty and inequality; and future prospects.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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