Published on Development Impact

Weekly links September 20: passionate pitches as seen in fMRIs, a different type of brain gain, tinkering with Likert scales, and more...

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·       Pitch with Passion: The Case Western Daily summarizes a recently published study by Scott Shane and co-authors in which videos of pitches—"identical in content but different in delivery--were randomly assigned to investors inside an fMRI machine. Depending on the passion-level of the pitch, investors' brains reacted differently... Heightened displays of passion increased investor fixation on the stimulus (the pitch) to override distractions” – so job market candidates, bring along your passion (and your portable fMRI’s) when making your job market pitches!

·       Do you find this link very useful, useful, somewhat useful, not useful, or very un-useful? On the IDinsight blog, a discussion of the design of a survey question using Likert scales to measure attitudes towards open defecation in India, and the amount of fine-tuning needed to tailor this to the respondents.

·       The brain gain channel in action: on the Devpolicy blog, Ryan Edwards summarizes four studies that all show how the prospect of international migration can induce more investment in schooling in home countries, and potentially increase the total supply of skilled people even as some migrate.

·       Neil Lewis on heavy vs light touches in education interventions: on the Brookings Brown Center Chalkboard blog, he notes the popularity of light-touch interventions due to their low cost and some successes, but notes “If a student and their family live in a resource-rich environment with well-funded schools, with teachers who are not overworked and underpaid, with enough guidance counselors to provide adequate guidance, and is simply not taking advantage of what is available, then by all means nudge them along so they do not squander the opportunities afforded to them. Find subtle ways to change their behaviors so that they can make the most of their education. If they are not in such a context, then we may need to take a different approach.”

·       Tweet summary of my new paper on migration and self-employment with Samuele Giambra.

·       ssc install fre  is what you should be typing in Stata right now (h/t @Ingar30). This command tabulates your data with both the labels and values for data. E.g.

Example output of Stata's fre command

·       IE Job openings:

o    1: we are looking for a field coordinator to be based in Mexico City for a project I am doing with Leo Iacovone, Diego Ubfal and Alessandro Maffioli on understanding the demand for business training. Details here.

o   2: The Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund is looking for a consultant to help with reviews of evidence in early childhood development and education. Please see here for details and information on how to apply.



David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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