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Weekly links September 30: re-analysis and respective criticism, working with NGOs, off to the big city, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • Solomon Hsiang and Nitin Sekar respond to the guest post by Quy-Toan Do and co-authors which had re-analyzed their data to question whether a one-time legal sale of ivory had increased elephant poaching. They state “Their claims are based on a large number of statistical, coding, and inferential errors.  When we correct their analysis, we find that our original results hold for sites that report a large number of total carcasses; and the possibility that our findings are artifacts of the data-generating process that DLM propose is extremely rare under any plausible set of assumptions”.
    • We screwed up by hosting this guest post without checking that Do and co-authors had shared it with the original co-authors and had given them a chance to respond.
    • We do believe that blogs have an important role to play in discussing research (see also Andrew Gelman on this), but think Uri Simonsohn’s piece this week on how to civilly argue with someone else’s analysis has good practice ideas for both social media and refereeing – with sharing the discussion with authors beforehand when re-analysis is done being good practice. We will try to adhere to this better in the future.
    • We are waiting to see whether Do and co-authors have any further word, and plan on posting only one more summary on this after making sure both sides have iterated. We plan to avoid Elephant wars since worm wars were enough.
  • In somewhat related news, Dana Carney shows how to gracefully accept and respond to criticism over your earlier work.
  • Nice NYTimes reporting on rural-urban migration in India – a behind-the-scenes look of development in action as young women leave rural villages to go work in factories in cities, and the changes in their lives that accompany this.
  • Duncan Green on why it is so hard for academics and NGOs to work together, and some suggestions for facilitating better interactions.
  • Job opening: seeking a field coordinator for an experimental study with sugarcane outgrowers in Uganda. The randomized controlled trial, which is a joint study with IFPRI and the Gender Innovation Lab, aims to identify ways to increase women’s participation in cash crop value chains. The application deadline is October 7th. The ToR is available here.

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