Published on Development Impact

What Development Impact looks for in guest posts

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We occasionally get emails from people interested in contributing a guest post to the Development Impact blog, and I find myself having to send different variants of an email explaining our policy/approach to guest contributions. I therefore thought it would be useful to put up a short post which makes this clear, and which we can then refer back to – as well as which may end up resulting in some interesting posts for us to consider.

What we do not consider

·         Our policy is that we do not take guest posts where authors are just summarizing their own paper. There are other great blogs that do this – both within the World Bank (such as Let’s Talk Development) and outside the World Bank (such as VoxDev and the GlobalDev blog). So if you just want to publicize or summarize your new paper, this is not the right forum. The key exception is our annual series of posts by PhD students on the job market, where we love seeing the range of new work being produced by job market students and hope to give them a platform to help disseminate it while they look for jobs.

·         Likewise, we do not think the blog is the right place for launching/publicizing new flagship reports or corporate products.


What we do look for

The focus of our blog is on empirical research in development, especially around areas of methodology for impact evaluations and measurement issues. We look for posts that try to make a specific point that we think will be of broader interest for readers interested in methodological or measurement issues, or that discuss aspects of the research process that might not be emphasized as much in the final research paper (e.g. fieldwork experiences and issues, failures and lessons learned), etc. Of course this will likely relate very directly to the research of the guest blogger and perhaps even to a specific paper of theirs, but the point of the post should not be to just summarize the paper, but instead dig into one aspect, or perhaps explain a new tool developed that is likely to be of interest to other researchers.

You can see many of the guest posts under the Development Impact Guest Blogger profile, but here also are some examples of some of our guest posts that we think are good illustrations of what we look for:

·         This post by Bruce Wydick on using child self-portraits as a way of measuring hope and hopelessness. This is a good example of taking a measurement tool used in constructing one of the key outcomes in a paper and going into detail about it for others considering using it.

·         This post by Damien de Walque on how they explained stratified randomization to policymakers using the soccer World Cup draw as an example, and a second post by Damien detailing how they did a public randomization ceremony. These posts explain key logistical/fieldwork aspects that are not going to be emphasized or explained at length in the main paper, but that are likely to be helpful for others doing RCTs.

·         This post by Anne Brockmeyer on how to work with administrative tax data. This is a great how to get started with accessing admin data post, with discussion of different modes that have worked and some of the things to watch out for.

·         This recent post by Tristan Reed on the different approaches people are using in the literature to using RCTs to study market competition. This is an example where the author’s own paper is included as one example, but set into a broader literature of different approaches with some more general discussion about the pros and cons of different methods.

·         We have also enjoyed guest posts that help explain the key takeaways of recent econometric methodological developments. For example, Winston Lin provided two posts around issues involved in regression adjustment in RCTs (part 1, part 2); and a post by Pam Jakiela summarized Andrew Goodman-Bacon’s decomposition of DiD with staggered timing.


These are just some examples of the range of fantastic guest posts we have featured over the years – but should help make the point that we are looking for posts that we think are public goods likely to be of interest to the research community, not posts whose main goal is summarizing the author’s own paper or report.

What to do if you have something that seems like it could make for a good guest blog

We definitely welcome guest posts that fit the above criteria, and it is a lot of work for us to continually write new posts, so it is great to have others share their knowledge and ideas. This is especially valuable if you work on different issues than those our core blogging team works on, so we can learn from your expertise and experiences.

The best thing to do is send us a short email with some bullet points of the idea you have and the key points you want to make/cover. We can then give feedback as to whether this is potentially suitable before you invest a lot of time in writing a full blog post that we may not want to publish.

Then, if we say we are interested in a potential blog, please follow the formatting tips that we give in our annual call for blogging your job market paper – namely send us the post in Word with 11 point Calibri font, keep it to 1,200-1,500 words max, hyperlink all references and do not include a separate reference section, try to include 1 or 2 nice figures if appropriate, and don’t just send paragraphs of text, but try to break it up with subheadings, bullet points, etc.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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