Published on Development Impact

Weekly links October 21: Deaton on doing research, flexible work schedules, 17,000 minimum wage changes, and more…

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  • Three questions with Angus Deaton – why diversity in researchers is good and directed research can be bad “Everyone of us has a different upbringing. Many people in economics now come from many countries around the world, they have different political views and political backgrounds. There’s a whole different social culture, and so on. I think economics in the United States has changed immeasurably in the last 30 years and been enormously enriched by that diversity with people coming from all over the world. That will only work if people bring with them the stuff they had when they were children or the stuff they did in college, the passions they had early on. Either smash them to pieces in the face of the data and see your professors like me telling them to do something else or turn them into something really valuable. So, don’t lose your unique value contributions. Stick to what is really important to you and try to research that” (h/t Berk).
  • Chris Blattman on the hidden price of risky research, particularly for women.
  • Are employees willing to pay for flexible work schedules – Equitable Growth covers a new paper by Mas and Pallais, with heterogeneity in preferences a key finding
  • Cyrus Samii on pre-analysis plans – he thinks they need to form more of a separating equilibrium, and that to do so it should be easier to check fidelity against the plan, and there should be more public vetting of the plan beforehand – essentially he wants registered reports and results-free review.
  • Manny Jimenez of 3ie on what he learnt about the demand for IE from a recent conference – “there are at least three factors that may be constraining the demand for new impact evaluations: the difficulty in understanding and applying lessons across contexts, their ‘high price’, and the different incentives for commissioning new impact evaluations”
  • Marc Bellemare on Simpson’s paradox and why it is a problem for those “determinants of…” papers.
  • Labor economists’ evaluation dream sentence of the week: “In the seven-year period from 2002 to 2008 alone, there were more than 17,000 minimum wage increases in China’s 2,852 counties and cities” – in a VoxEU post by Hau, Huang and Wang which shows low-productivity private and foreign-owned firms respond to these shocks by increasing productivity, but state-owned firms do not, and that firms with higher (predicted) management scores respond more.
  • Job Opportunity: IDinsight (a non-profit research consultancy focusing on impact evaluations) is hiring at all levels of experience, from entry-level associates to seasoned regional directors. More information here.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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