IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action

  • My IPA colleagues have a series of blog posts about our experience moving evidence into policy. The first lays out the org’s strategic ambition for what we plan on doing differently over the next several years. The second is on how to get non-research-oriented partners (like governments and NGOs) involved in the research process from the start to make sure they have ownership and the questions address their needs. The third is about what to do after you have the findings, to make sure they get used and don’t just languish in a report on a website.
  • Some great reflections from Rachel Glennerster on what she’s learned over the past year as Chief Economist for DFID.
  • Brilliant coverage of Brexit from a Financial Times Southern Africa correspondent writing about it the way foreign correspondents cover African politics.
  • University of Virginia economist and public policy prof Sally Hudson is running for the State House of Representatives there, challenging the incumbent Democrat in the primary. This is not an endorsement (I don’t know enough about the candidates), but it did remind me of something I saw Dartmouth economist & public policy prof, journalist, speechwriter, and former political candidate Charlie Wheelan say. Talking to a bunch of policy students, he said it’s unfortunate that the people who are really good at policy usually don’t have the stomach for politics and the personalities who are successful in politics usually aren’t the types who want to get into the weeds on policy.
  • I haven’t listened to all the episodes of the IRC & Vox podcast Displaced yet (I discovered on my phone I have 836 podcast episodes I’ve individually chosen and downloaded but not yet listened to), but I have yet to hear a bad episode of that show. One of the many interesting parts of the interview with Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, about innovation and failure, comes about 43 minutes in, where she talks about how she tries to surround herself with reminders of failing to make it a normal part of daily life and nothing to fear. One way she does this is keeping the rejection letter from her attempt to get on her local community board on her refrigerator. She has a book coming out in a few weeks on the topic.
  • ICYMI there was a fascinating and troubling discussion on Twitter this week following the Nairobi attacks, where the New York Times apparently showed (I didn’t look) graphic photos of dead bodies, even though they wouldn’t have done it for a U.S.-based school shooting or terror attack for example (even the death of U.S. soldiers is usually communicated through returning caskets with flags rather than bodies on the battlefield.) I’ll refer you to Jeffrey Paller’s great as always This Week in Africa newsletter for links to the specific arguments and defenses from the Times but it’s probably Ken Opalo’s words that stuck with me the most:

And if you have’t seen it, this AeroMexico commercial came out last year apparently, but it’s just making the rounds now*:

* don’t take the science of genetic ancestry too seriously (h/t Tim Ogden). 

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