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The ethics of a control group in randomized impact evaluations – the start of an ongoing discussion

Jed Friedman's picture

Last year the British Medical Journal published the results of an impact evaluation of local immunization campaigns with and without incentives in rural India. Full immunization rates were very low in the study area (2%) and the researchers wanted to test two nested approaches to improving participation in immunization campaigns.

Calling it in: using phones for repeat surveys

Markus Goldstein's picture

In a working paper on the new LSMS-ISA (integrated surveys for agriculture) website, Brian Dillon describes the experience using phones in a research project he was working on with Diego Shirima, Geofrey Mwemezi and Msafiri Msedi.   (You can also find a published version of this paper

The Impact of the 4th of July

David McKenzie's picture

Happy 4th of July. Believe it or not, there is a recent paper which aims to estimate the impact of celebrating this holiday. Here’s the abstract: “Do childhood events shape adult political views and behavior? This paper investigates the impact of Fourth of July celebrations in the US during childhood on partisanship and participation later in life.

Working Papers are NOT Working.

Berk Ozler's picture

In research, as in life, first impressions matter a lot. Most sensible people don’t go on a first date disheveled, wearing sweatpants and their favorite raggedy hoodie from their alma mater, but rather wait to break those out well into a relationship. Working papers are the research equivalent of sweatshirts with pizza stains on them, but we wear them on our first date with our audience.

Sometimes it is ethical to lie to your study subjects

Jed Friedman's picture

A recent article in the New York Times describes a “stealth survey” to measure the difficulties in accessing timely health care. This U.S. government sponsored survey involves a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as potential patients on the phone in order to measure the efforts required to schedule a doctor’s appointment as a new patient.

If you want her business to grow, don’t just give her cash

David McKenzie's picture

That’s one blunt message from my new working paper with Marcel Fafchamps, Simon Quinn and Chris Woodruff, which replicates in Ghana a study that Chris and I had previously done in Sri Lanka with Suresh de Mel. In the new experiment, we take almost 800 microenterprises in urban Ghana, and randomly divide them into treatment and control groups.

New funding opportunity for impact evaluations about savings

David McKenzie's picture

IPA's Microsavings and Payments Innovation Initiative (MPIII) has just launched a call for expressions of interest-

http://www.poverty-action.org/microsavings/opportunities/eoi2011

We know funding is often a major issue for people with good ideas looking to get started doing impact evaluations, so are happy to advertise new opportunities for funding as they become available - just let us know if you have money you want to give out!

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