Published on Development Impact

Weekly links October 3: self-control, attitudes vs behavior, IE and poverty, and more…

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  • Self-control and worker productivity: In the Upshot, Sendhil Mullainathan summarizes his experiment in India that found that piece-rate data entry workers benefited as much from signing a commitment contract that punished them if they didn’t hit a target as they would from a 50 percent pay raise.
  • Pinker on the sins of academic writing – with many great examples of things to avoid.
  • Chris Blattman on predicting local violence in fragile states.
  • Impact evaluation and poverty measurement redux- On the 3ie blog – a post building on Markus’s post about whether IEs are measuring poverty – “Only nine of the 216 included studies (4 per cent) report enough information that allow us to determine whether the population or sample was on average living on less than US$1.25.  Getting even those details often required detective work. Only 16 of the included studies (7 per cent) report whether the population or sample was on average living below a national poverty line. Only 32 studies that report targeting the poor (25 per cent) conduct some heterogeneity analysis by income or poverty status to see if the effect of the intervention varies for different target populations.”
  • Easily merge or extract from a PDF file: My new discovery this week is the website smallpdf which allows you to easily join two PDFs together, extract pages from a PDF, and more. This has been helpful when I’ve not been able to log onto our server to use Adobe.
  • Advice from Nicolae Naumof for those working on training programs: screw the attitudes, go directly for behavior.
  • Facebook’s response to complaints about its emotions experiment includes a suggestion they should have used rainfall as an IV more, and to post all its published research in one location.
  • RIP Ron McKinnon from the Economist – he was the senior development person at Stanford when I started as an assistant professor, and I could not wish for a nicer colleague.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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