Published on Development Impact

Weekly links May 1: Early COVID-19 survey results and a research hub, prize-winning development economists, and more…

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·       The RECOVR research hub is aiming to centralize surveys, evaluations and datasets documenting the impacts of COVID-19 in low and middle-income countries.

·       This week saw several rapid response surveys report results:

o   On the CGD blog, Alexis Le Nestour and Laura Moscoviz summarize five findings from a phone survey in Senegal. They already have put their data, questionnaires, and protocols up – They use Random Digit Dialing – they called 5,100 different numbers, of which the number didn’t exist for 1,158; no one answered in 2,238 calls; 450 answered and refused to participate; and 1,023 completed the interview (i.e. 26% of valid phone numbers, and 62% of those who answered). One nice thing they do is ask households how many phones they have, and use this as part of their re-weighting, to take account of the fact that households with more phones are more likely to be contacted using this approach.

o   Kashif Malik and co-authors from Oxford and NYU report on a rapid response phone survey of 1000 microfinance clients in Pakistan – an example of using an administrative list of clients as a sampling frame. The authors told me response rates were 98% for a sample of borrowers they had previously worked with, and for a sample of regular borrowers that they hadn’t worked with before it was 89% of those with valid numbers, or 70% including switched off phones and wrong numbers.

o   Rahman and Matin report on a BRAC/PPRC phone survey of 5,471 households in urban and rural Bangladesh. They report this comes from a sampling frame of around 51,000 households, but it is unclear whether all were attempted to be contacted.

·       Prizes to two excellent development economists:

o   Eliana La Ferrera received the Birgit Grodal prize, an annual award for a European-based female economist who has made a significant contribution to the Economics profession. See her work on identity, social norms, trust, political economy and more here.

o   Melissa Dell is the John Bates Clark Medalist for 2020, awarded to the American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. See her work on the persistent effects of institutions, political economy, and more here.

·       New virtual advances with field experiments seminar series

·       Job Openings: The Firm, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation unit at the World Bank, with whom I collaborate a lot, has two extended term consultant positions open – one for an analyst and one for an economist – for work including firm surveys and impact evaluations.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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