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Mystery clients in development research

David Evans's picture
When I turned 16, I got my first formal sector job at a movie theater. The theater was part of a large chain, and occasionally the head office would send mystery shoppers -- employees posing as moviegoers -- to test the quality of our customer service. A colleague of mine was put on probation for getting impatient with an elderly mystery shopper at the ticket window.

Are you teaching or taking a class in development economics in a developing country?

David McKenzie's picture
This is a joint post with Anna Luisa Paffhausen
 
We are currently conducting a study and survey on how development economics is taught in developing countries and would love your help getting the word out and/or participating.
 
Our survey is meant to be a stocktaking and study of whether and how developing economics is taught as part of an economics course in developing countries. We are focusing on undergraduate and masters level classes.
The aim is to use this to understand the following questions:
 

Weekly links April 24: When behavioral phenomena work and when they don’t, marketing skills for small businesses, spillovers, and much more…

David McKenzie's picture

Weekly links April 17: Reducing open defecation, pre-publication replication, free TORs, and so much more

David Evans's picture
1. Looking for breakfast reading?  A new study on improving rural sanitation (specifically investment in hygienic latrines) came out in Science yesterday, comparing (1) community motivation & information campaign, (2) subsidies, and (3) sales agents who gave advice on installation and gave referrals to latrine-building masons. Subsidies directly increased ownership by 22 percentage points (and by 8 percentage points among unsubsidized neighbors).

Presenting to policy vs. academic audiences: some thoughts

Markus Goldstein's picture
I've been doing a bunch of presentations recently to both policy and academic audiences and been reflecting a bit on what the differences in presenting to these two different kinds of audience. Here are a couple of thoughts -- additional contributions are welcome as this is probably a topic that could take up a blog of its own.
 
1.  Keep the language universal.   If you want to reach the whole audience, you have to keep the language at a level that everyone can understand.     This is pretty obvious, but there are a couple of traps here.
 

Weekly links April 10: Online IE education x 3; monkeynomics, surveying under repression, and more…

David McKenzie's picture

Risk, Sex and Lotteries. Can lotteries be used as incentives to prevent risky behaviors?

Damien de Walque's picture

This post is jountly authored by Martina Björkman Nyqvist, Lucia Corno, Damien de Walque and Jakob Svensson.
 
Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) and other types of financial incentives have been used successfully to promote activities that are beneficial to the participants such as school attendance and health check-ups for children. CCTs pay a certain amount if the condition is verified.
 
Lotteries can also be used as an incentive. Instead of being paid a certain amount, the participants who satisfy the condition receive a lottery ticket, a random draw is performed among the tickets, and a predetermined number of winners earn a lottery prize. The value of the lottery prizes would be higher than the typical CCT amount, but the number of recipients of the prizes would be lower.

Be an Optimista, not a Randomista (when you have small samples)

Berk Ozler's picture
We are often in a world where we are allowed to randomly assign a treatment to assess its efficacy, but the number of subjects available for the study is small. This could be because the treatment (and its study) is very expensive – often the case in medical experiments – or because the condition we’re trying to treat is rare leaving us with two few subjects or because the units we’re trying to treat are like districts or hospitals, of which there are only so many in the country/region of interest.

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