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Social Frictions to Knowledge Sharing in India

Martin Ravallion's picture

There seems to be much enthusiasm today for efforts to improve access to information about poor people’s rights and entitlements. In a much debated recent example, Facebook’s “Free Basics” platform provides free access to a selected slice of the internet (including, of course, Facebook). In arguing for Free Basics, Mark Zuckerberg says that “everyone … deserves access to the tools and information that can help them to achieve all those other public services, and all their fundamental social and economic rights.” I think we would all agree; less obvious is whether Free Basics will help do that. Critics argue that it is a “walled garden” approach—indeed, a threat to net neutrality. There have been proposals for other options using subsidized internet data packs, as in the proposal for India made recently by Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah.

Weekly links January 15, 2016: changing your mind, widowhood in Africa, funding, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

A spatial odyssey: The impacts of land formalization in Benin

Markus Goldstein's picture
This post is co-authored with Michael O’Sullivan.  
Effective property rights matter for development. And heck, they even got a couple of shout outs in the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals.  And we know from earlier work that weaker rights can lead to reduced agricultural productivity.  So what happens when folks move to better property rights?  

A review of Martin Ravallion’s new book: The Economics of Poverty

David McKenzie's picture
Martin Ravallion has spent over 30 years working on poverty, with his career as the leading expert on the topic at the World Bank more recently augmented by his more recent position as a professor at Georgetown which has involved teaching an undergraduate class on the topic. From this depth of knowledge comes his new textbook The Economics of Poverty: History, Measurement, and Policy.

Weekly links January 7, 2016: experiments on civil servants, fragile states, jeans and child labor, funding, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

Resource Inequality and Ethnic Conflict in Africa: New Evidence Using Rainfall Data - Guest post by Andrea Guariso

The majority of civil conflicts that took place in Africa since the end of World War II were fought along ethnic lines (Wimmer et al., 2009). Among all the different causes that have been discussed by academics and policy makers, economic inequality has possibly been the most controversial one (Cramer, 2005).

What are Schools Worth? That Depends on the General Equilibrium Effects - Guest post by Gaurav Khanna

Large-scale educational expansions represent substantial investments of public resources and benefit households by increasing education levels, and therefore productivity in the local economy. However, since they impact both individual behavior and labor markets, convincing causal estimates of their overall benefits are hard to generate.

Evading the Family Tax: A Costly Hide-and-Seek Strategy Guest Post by Marie Boltz

This is the twelfth in our series of posts by students on the job market this year.

Joint work with Karine Marazyan and Paola Villar
“Saving? In Senegal, you don't have the possibility to save! Because the family is here, there is the pressure, there is the electricity bill to pay, the medical prescription of your brother you are asked to pay, and there are your parents to help. It is like that here: as long as you are working, people consider you don't have financial problems.” (Public-primary-school teacher in Guinaw Rail, suburb of Dakar, Senegal, Boltz and Villar 2013)

Weekly links December 18: rejecting rejections, measuring success in economics, underreporting in polisci, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • In the BMJ Christmas edition, a nice form letter for how you can reject journal rejections: “As you are probably aware we receive many rejections each year and are simply not able to accept them all. In fact, with increasing pressure on citation rates and fiercely competitive funding structures we typically accept fewer than 30% of the rejections we receive… We do wish you and your editorial team every success with your rejections in the future and hope they find safe harbour elsewhere. To this end, may we suggest you send one to [insert name of rival research group] for consideration. They accept rejections from some very influential journals.”
  • From the political science replication blog: researchers looked at NSF proposals under the TESS program, and compares the pre-analysis plans and questionnaires to what was actually published, finding 80% of papers fail to report all experimental conditions and outcomes

The trade-off of spousal secrets in family planning: Guest post by Aine McCarthy

This is the eleventh in our series of posts by students on the job market this year.

When men desire nearly three times as many additional children as their wives and possess most of the decision-making power in the household, the stark difference in fertility preferences leads to excess fertility and welfare losses for wives.

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