IPA’s weekly links

This is guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

  • The New York Times Dealbook has a review of the new book, Misbehaving, by Richard Thaler, discussing how behavioral economics developed in contrast to the “rational choice” perspective of traditional econ. The review points out that economics became the privileged field for influencing policy because it was good at putting price tags on things, but a by-product was also importing the rational econ assumptions into policy.
  • A paper (PDF) by Jishnu Das, Alaka Holla, Aakash Mohpal and Karthik Muralidharan looks at skills of doctors in India by sending “standardized patients” (trained on presenting with a particular set of symptoms) to the same doctors who worked at both public and private clinics. The same doctors made better diagnoses when seeing the patients at their private clinics, and accuracy correlated with prices (h/t David Evans).
  • A political science journal started pre-publication replications of papers, rerunning the analysis, and all papers failed (many because the authors hadn’t submitted sufficient documentation).
  • Who do government officials listen to? Aid data presents results of a survey of government officials and NGOs in low and middle-income countries about who and what kinds of development advice officials listen to, particularly when it comes to external assessments. Executive summary here (PDF), h/t Delia W.
  • A doctor who is Director of Johns Hopkins’ Center for Refugee and Disaster Response writes on the Washington Post site that we still don’t know how to best help in disasters like Haiti’s and Nepal’s earthquakes because we don’t collect data on disaster relief.

Two things from Berkeley – I’m not sure which is better:

Via the BITSS blog, a rough guide to spotting bad science

And via IPA alum Cameron, Nickelback goes to grad school