A recent paper in Lancet Global Health found that generous conditional cash transfers to female secondary school students had no effect on their school attendance, dropout rates, HIV incidence, or HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus – type 2) incidence. What happened?
- Congrats to Dave Donaldson for winning the Clark medal this year for his work at the intersection of international trade and development economics (although the economic historians are also claiming him) – here is the NYTimes summary – and here is a recent IGC piece by Dave and co-authors on the barriers to trade in Africa.
- Dave Evans discusses three further examples of studies that relate to the issue of scaling up RCTs on his personal blog – with a lively discussion on twitter under this thread and this one about what exactly you want to hold constant when thinking about whether the government can scale up a program run by NGOs. Keeping busy, he also blogs about his newly accepted paper on cash transfers and health outcomes in Tanzania, along with links to the data.
- development impact links
One of the more exciting sessions I went to at the recent Centre for the Study of African Economies Conference was on the relationship between agricultural plot size and productivity. I walked out of the session not sure of the shape of the relationship, but I was sure of the fact that there is a lot of measurement error going on. And this is measurement error that matters a lot.
- Friday Links
Over the last decade, both Kenya and Liberia have sought to scale up successful pilot programs that help children to learn to read. Even as more and more impact evaluations are of programs at scale, pilots still constitute a significant portion of what we test. That’s with good reason: Governments wisely seek to pilot and test programs before expending valuable resources in implementing a program across the country.
- In the journal Epidemics, McCormick et al. (2017) consider the static and dynamic displacement effects of behavior change interventions for HIV prevention.
- Just this week, I provided a journalist with a bunch of citations, most of which she could not access. Perhaps, no more? LSE Impact Blog discusses the Unpaywall: "The extension is called Unpaywall, and it’s powered by an open index of more than ten million legally-uploaded, open access resources. Reports from our pre-release are great: “Unpaywall found a full-text copy 53% of the time,” reports librarian, Lydia Thorne. Fisheries researcher Lachlan Fetterplace used Unpaywall to find “about 60% of the articles I tested. This one is a great tool and I suspect it will only get better.” And indeed it has! We’re now getting full-text on 85% of 2016’s most-covered research papers."
The past decades have seen large increase in primary enrollment, and a closing (for most, but not all, countries) of the gender gap in enrolment. The next step is to look at secondary school. A nice new paper by Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas and Michael Kremer looks at what happens when you make it accessible to more young people.
We are proud to have kept the blog going for another year, and would like to note its 6th birthday. In lieu of presents, we’d love your thoughts on what things you would like to see more or less of going forward. In particular, any comments or feedback on the following would be great: