Published on Development Impact

Weekly links May 24: experimental unease, I don’t know about idk’s, business mentoring redux, and more...

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·         Eeshani Kandpal on Let’s Talk Development on the limits of peer effects among rural women in India.

·         Dave Evans on 5 new findings in global education, including that heat reduces learning.

·         Deon Filmer discusses how to move from an impact evaluation that didn’t find what the government wanted, towards future program changes based on work on education programs in Cambodia on the Education for Global Development blog.

·         A second economics journal (following the JDE) is trying “pre-results review”. Experimental Economics is testing this through a call for a symposium issue. “The idea of pre-results review is that authors submit their fully motivated and fully specified research plan before gathering the data.” – Submission due in January. One of the things they ask for is a brief strategy-method conclusion (e.g. if the results show X, I will conclude Y, if they instead show A, I will conclude B).

·         A recently published paper in PNAS has been getting some attention for showing in a variety of survey responses that people are more averse to experiments than to the underlying policies being unilaterally imposed. Alex Tabarrok summarizes at Marginal Revolution, and has an interesting take: “I think the authors have got the story backward. Random experiments generate unease not because they are new, they are new because they generate unease.”

·         On the IGL blog, part 2 of a post on business mentoring – noting that mentoring is not one size fits all, and there are lots of operational details to decide on that likely make a large difference as to effectiveness.

·         The IDinsight blog discusses the use of “I don’t know” as an answer option in surveys – and conclude that “Including “don’t know” in a survey is a difficult decision that needs to be made on a case-by-case basis”

·         The program of the NBER Summer Institute – a chance to see what research is taking place in a wide variety of fields.


Finally, we thank you for your patience as we get used to the World Bank’s new blog platform and try to restore a lot of previous features. If you follow the blog through an RSS feed, the new feed is now at


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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