IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

  • This blog’s landlord, Chris Blattman, was on the Economic Rockstar podcast talking about Crime, Cocaine, Chicago Gangs, and the Colombia Mafia. (iTunes)
    • And if you liked those projects, IPA has a job posting to work on projects like those with Chris and others in Colombia.
  • This was fun – the Development Aid Project Jargon-ator is supposed to come up with nonsense development project titles, but so far all of mine sound pretty realistic.
  • With the rising popularity and global prices of quinoa, sometimes people worry that consumers in Peru, where it is traditionally produced, will be hurt. Or as one of my favorite pieces of development writing said, “Strong Demand for Things Poor People Sell Somehow Bad for Poor People.” Now Bellemare, Fajardo-Gonzalez, & Gitter are here to reassure the good residents of the West Coast that quinoa is indeed safe to consume. They find that Peruvians have other foods also, and increased prices are not strongly associated with worse household welfare in quinoa-consuming regions.
  • A Nigerian group of girls won a global tech contest with an app for confirming drugs are real (through a barcode scanner that connects to a pharmaceutical database).
  • Sociologists ask a lot of similar, or more compelling, policy questions as economists, but have a lower public profile, perhaps in part because they don’t make the research as accessible to journalists or the public.
  • Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham’s conclusions and suggestions after reading 44 job market papers
  • An interview with Card & Krueger (from a couple years ago) on the history of causal identification in economics and more recent developments (via Eric Chyn, part of a longer discussion on the history of causality in research).
  • If you’re going to be traveling (or if you just like books), check out David Evans’ blog book review category for a nice mix of fun and scholarly book recommendations to make your travel go faster.
  • Next time you find yourself cursing power outages, remember the story (h/t Emmanuel Quartey) of a massive Russian malware attack originally targeted at Ukraine that tore through computer networks around the world locking computers, deleting terabytes of data, and inflicting an estimated $10 Billion in damages. The massive shipping conglomerate Maersk was crippled – as huge container ships moved all around the world, the network tracking the ships’ contents and locations was offline, and the critical domain servers needed to restore the other computers were also all infected. Except one:

After a frantic search that entailed calling hundreds of IT admins in data centers around the world, Maersk’s desperate administrators finally found one lone surviving domain controller in a remote office—in Ghana. At some point before [the malware] NotPetya struck, a blackout had knocked the Ghanaian machine offline, and the computer remained disconnected from the network. It thus contained the singular known copy of the company’s domain controller data left untouched by the malware—all thanks to a power outage. “There were a lot of joyous whoops in the office when we found it,” a Maersk administrator says.