Weekly links October 16: reducing labor frictions, digital remittances, Nobel work, and more…


This page in:

·       There have of course been lots of articles summarizing the work of this year’s Nobel laureates Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson. I found this one by A fine theorem to be one of the best: “It is hard to overstate how broad Milgrom’s contributions have been, both theoretically and in practice. But we can get a good taste by looking at four: the multitasking problem and the no-trade theorem on the theoretical side, and medieval guilds and modern spectrum auctions on the applied side…”

·       On VoxDev, Eliana Carranza and co-authors summarize their experiment on reducing labor market frictions in South Africa with skill certificates. It is always incredibly pleasing (as well as, I admit, a bit frustrating) when I see something that I tried in one context that failed work a lot better in a different context. When we tested job candidates in Jordan on mental reasoning, English proficiency, Excel proficiency, soft skills, and personality, and also used this to match them with employers, there was no impact on employment. One thing I particularly like is that the researchers have also prepared an implementation guide to help others wanting to use this approach.

·       IDInsight discusses a recent RCT they ran testing whether training could get (internal) migrant workers in India to use digital payment technologies for sending remittances. Training only had a small effect, largely because so many other barriers to use remain, including many infrastructure issues.

·       Data and findings from the LSMS high-frequency surveys on COVID

·       On the STATA blog, implementing Support Vector Machines in Python through Stata

·       The NEUDC Schedule and Program is now up, and it is free to register (conference is Nov 6-7 online).

·       PEDL is organizing a conference and matchmaking conference for young scholars (PhD students and faculty 3 years or less post-PhD) for people looking to work on private sector development issues in South Asia and Africa. Deadline is this Sunday October 18.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank