Published on Development Impact

Weekly links November 2: selective piloting in China, scaling problems, place matters, and more…

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·       On the Becker-Friedman Institute page, Shaoda Wang and David Yang summarize China’s policy piloting approach – with some interesting findings that speak to efforts to extrapolate “Policy experimentation sites are substantially positively selected in terms of a locality’s level of economic development…local politicians exert strategic efforts and allocate more resources during experimentation that may exaggerate policy effectiveness, and such strategic efforts are not replicable when the policy eventually rolls out to the rest of the country.”

·       In another round of the “are women less willing to compete than men” series of lab experiment papers, a new paper in PNAS finds that the gender gap in competition closes when women have the option to share the winnings with the losers. Sample is 238 undergrads in three North American universities doing math problems for small stakes.

·       Jason Kerwin on the disappointment of trying to take successful interventions to scale, and the role of treatment heterogeneity as one reason for this.

·       Arguments against Boxplots and some suggested alternatives from Nick Desbarats

·       The latest JEP has a couple of nice summaries of work making the point that the neighborhood/place that you live matters, for both health and income/jobs, and seems particularly important for young children. Both papers have a nice discussion of the challenges involved in estimating the causal impact of place, and of the different methods/approaches used in the literature to deal with this. The focus is on location within developed countries, but of course the country you live has an even more important impact on life outcomes.

·       Funding calls:

o   IGC call for early career researchers and for Bangladesh COVID recovery both close November 14.

o   PEDL call for exploratory research grants around firms and climate change, due December 20


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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