Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.
- The Wall Street Journal had a very good feature article on how insights from behavioral economics and randomized controlled trials are changing the way people think about poverty.
- In a new paper, the UK Behavioural Insights team reports they altered a letter to people who owed money to the government, just changing the framing from omission to active commission with the sentence:
“Previously, we treated your lack of response as an oversight. Now, if you do not call [telephone number], we will treat this as an active choice.”
They collected an additional $1.8 million within a month.
- David Evans strikes again, in a repeat of his performance in March, he summarizes the recent The Annual Bank Conference on Africa, with pithy 1-2 sentence summaries of 48+ papers. If he keeps doing this, we should really have a Kickstarter for his conference travel.
- A paper in PNAS reports a new disease spread by the same mosquitoes who carry the malaria parasite.
- A new PLoS Biology paper estimates more than half of all bio/med research is irreproducible, and scientists spent $28 BILLION trying. Reasons range from vague descriptions in write-ups to widely distributed cell lines that are mislabeled (breast cancer cells which are actually skin cancer for example, and labs who buy them not doing a $200 test to confirm).
- The Atlantic reports that high end clothing company Patagonia had the will and flexibility (being privately owned) to commit to using fair labor practices in the factories that supply them, but failed through no fault of their own. According to the article, the problem lies with the middlemen – labor brokers, who import garment factory workers to Taiwan, and charge them exorbitant fees (e.g. $7,000) deducted from the bank accounts where their wages are deposited. (Recall a few weeks ago, we mentioned a qualitative study pointing to the importance of labor brokers in Egypt controlling access to jobs).
And Pizza Hut again proves the private sector is an endless source of global innovation:
while in Australia, well there really are no words for what it’s doing there. (Both h/t and condolences to office Australian, Hugo).