IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.


  • If your work involves transcribing audio or video, Trint looks interesting. It extracts the text and synchronizes the result with the audio/video file alongside it to make it easier to go through and make corrections (h/t Brian Boyer).
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon endorsed using cash transfers whenever possible in humanitarian crisis aid (h/t GiveDirectly).
  • On the other hand when it comes to development in general, Angus Deaton reaffirmed at the Council on Foreign Relations that he’s just as skeptical of cash transfers as about other outside aid. He feels (as I understand it) that having outside governments and NGOs doing the jobs local governments should be doing undermines the contract between those governments and their own people. He also fears cash transfers, if they get big enough, will also attract the attention of greedy officials:

    “…it’s the unintended consequences of what happens in the long run if you give people lots of money. And, you know, if there’s enough money out there, the guys that run the country, you know, they’re going to get it. I mean, that’s what happens. That’s the nature of power.”

  • EconTalk has an interesting episode on “medical reversals.” Up to 40% of treatments that become common based on initial data turn out not to be helpful, and sometimes harmful, years later when the RCT data comes in. There’s a nice comparison about 45 min in between the dilemmas that health vs. financial regulators face.
  • Among the Hillary Clinton emails made searchable by The Wall Street Journal, is a compelling one from Chelsea Clinton who went to observe in post-earthquake Haiti. After being there for a short time, she paints a pretty vivid portrait of disorganized NGO/UN efforts.
  • American behavioral econ draws on the Kahneman and Tversky school of thought exploring flaws in human reasoning. The Bounded Rationality approach associated with Gerd Gigerenzer focuses on how the mental shortcuts we use are often adaptive. The Max Plank Institute in Berlin is hosting a summer institute for scientists interesting in learning more (h/t Decision Science News).

And after the uproar surrounding the American hunter who killed Cecil the lion, fewer hunters have come to a Zimbabwean park. It now has an overpopulation of lions and officials there are considering killing 200 of them.

Photo above via Flickr/brianscott

12 thoughts on “IPA’s weekly links

  1. Chelsea Clinton’s email was fascinating and so depressingly unsurprising. Reading with thoughts of the cholera outbreak that the UN forces precipitated is even more depressing.