IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action

  • The latest I’ve seen on the Uganda election is that ballot counting continues, I thought I saw police had disrupted counting at at least one location, and opposition candidate, singer Bobi Wine says the military has stationed themselves in and around his home without explanation.
  • IPA’s Executive Director Annie Duflo, is profiled in the Wall Street Journal this weekend.
  • Charles Kenny has a new paper and blog post out arguing aid would help the most people if it prioritized the poorest places first.
  • He also has a new book, The Plague Cycle, tracing how humanity has co-evolved with disease until recently. From the publisher’s site:

Written as colorful history, The Plague Cycle reveals the relationship between civilization, globalization, prosperity, and infectious disease over the past five millennia. It harnesses history, economics, and public health, and charts humanity’s remarkable progress, providing a fascinating and timely look at the cyclical nature of infectious disease.

  • David McKenzie already covered two things I wanted to link to better than I could have: Congolese researchers and staff talk about their perspective in the international research process (but David summarizes his highlights).
  • And on VoxDev Maximilian Kasy & Anja Sautmann talk about adaptive experiments – reallocating samples to the treatment groups that seem to be working better. (One question I have having read only the post and not the paper yet, is one one develops a “stopping rule” to confirm one treatment’s better in different kinds of contexts. I think I’d seen one danger with adaptive experiments online with tech companies and customer behavior is that one’s often likely to have periods of stability randomly but then they shift later, and if you’d continued the experiment longer you’d have gotten a different aggregate result, I’m not sure if the same applies to traditional RCTs)
  • Research funding opportunities:
    • Women’s Work, Entrepreneurship, and Skilling (in Kenya and Bangladesh, Deadline Jan 27), particularly around how COVID has affected women’s work and entrepreneurship opportunities and how to help
    • Gender and economic agency (Note: this one is limited to J-PAL affiliates and invited researchers only. For work in Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Tanzania, and Uganda prioritized with limited funding for elsewhere in East Africa and South Asia, Deadline March 12th).
  • There’s been a lot of speculation on why Israel is so far ahead of other countries on vaccination (about 25% of the population so far). A lot seems to come down to a small country with centralized healthcare, but data apparently is another reason. The country secured a lot of doses ahead of time by agreeing to share healthcare system data with Pfizer, studying population effects as it was rolled out. Based on some of that data, it appears there’s a 33% drop in test positivity 2 weeks after the first dose (comparing tests of 200,000 people over 60 years old who’d gotten the vaccine with 200,000 who hadn’t). Seems like a nice example of building research into the rollout.

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