IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action

  • Chris has been threatening it for a while but looks like he’s finally done it (click through to see the full thread and description of why his answer’s not what you might expect):
  • If you can’t wait till then, much of his materials are in his class slides and syllabi on this very site.
  • And a really good related thread on criminal governance – when gangs replace functions of government – from Brazil. In this case the gangs extended from prison out into neighborhoods and actually made them safer. They set rules like not doing drugs in front of children, murders went down, and it became safer for government employees, like healthcare workers to come in and serve the community again. (Not to say this was altruistic – presumably, this is all in the service of making it easier to sell more drugs to people coming from outside the neighborhood.)
  • Great resource, Rachel Strohm has updated her links to scholarships and fellowships for African students & researchers.
  • A new study found “spin” in abstracts and titles of British psychiatry (and one psychology) journal. When the main findings in an RCT were null in, authors would write the abstract or title to focus on other findings. One reason this is an issue is that in medicine, busy doctors often only read the title and abstract so might miss the null main finding (original research article).
  • I’ve mentioned before the study that found a major source of misleading news on health research wasn’t the news media overhyping the findings, but exaggerated claims given to them by university press releases. The same research team followed that up by going back to the source, with a clever and impressive randomized controlled trial of university press releases. They persuaded university press offices to allow them to intercept and (randomly) re-write press releases to more accurately reflect the research findings, such as adding caveats. They found the altered press releases resulted in more accurate coverage, with no reduction in likelihood to make it into news. Article here, but I’ll drop you into this mega thread from one of the authors covering both studies here – he describes the backlash from offended journalists over the first study, and how they had to persuade them and the press offices to agree to be randomized into this study.
  • And you know all those news stories with the secret to living to be over 100 years old? Apparently the real secret is being born before good record keeping was formalized in your area. And in a refreshing #SayWhatYouFound, the title of the paper is simply “Supercentenarians and the oldest-old are concentrated into regions with no birth certificates and short lifespans.”
  • Call for papers for NBER/BREAD development econ program Nov 22-23 in Cambridge. Deadline Sept 13, paper submission here.

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