Published on Development Impact

Weekly links October 23: development economists as founders, renting firm size, cash transfer myths, and more…

This page in:

·       VoxDev has a piece by Bassi et al. looking at how the rental market for modern machines in Uganda allows small firms to overcome lumpy technology constraints, and helps overcome some of the disadvantages of being a small firm: “Firm-to-firm interactions in the market for capital increase the effective firm size and are an essential driver of technology adoption.”

·       Tyler Cowen interviews Michael Kremer: including a discussion of founding nonprofits - “Cowen - I have it that you founded at least five nonprofits with the sixth to come…Kremer - There’s a lot of relationship between the experimental method and the things that are needed to help found organizations.”…and on why development economics is useful for management: “One of the things that business books will tell you is, know your customer. That means, yes, you want to learn the statistics on the customers, but you also want to talk to the customers. Development economists will typically — if it’s an education program they’re studying — they’ll talk to kids. They’ll talk to the teachers. They’ll talk to the school principals. You get in the habit of doing that, and that’s very useful for innovation more broadly….One thing about modern development economics and experimental economics is, it’s iterative. You try one thing. Then either the same researchers or other researchers try to improve on it again, and it’s a constant cycle. That’s, again, something that your management books will tell you is very important.”

·       Rachel Strohm highlights a nice infographic poster from the Transfer project that addresses common myths about cash transfers – although some of my colleagues may want more nuance/counterexamples to be noted in the “myth” that transfers lead to price inflation.

·       IDInsight on when using voter rolls as sample frames in India is reasonable and when it may not be.

·       Video of the CSWEP fireside chat with Esther Duflo about publishing in the AER (scroll partway down the page). Also dates for upcoming chats with the editors of AER Insights, all the AEJ journals, and Science.

·       In Stata, ssc install dadjoke will bring you the joy of placing this randomly among your code:

Example of a Dad joke in Stata

·       Conference call for papers: BITSS annual conference on meta-science – for work on pre-analysis plans, replication, research transparency, etc.

·       ICYMI: submissions are now open for our “blog your job market paper” series, with a deadline of November 5.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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