Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links

Guest Post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

via National Geographic
via National Geographic


  • National Geographic had a master taxidermist come up with a fake elephant tusk with an embedded GPS tracker so they could track the route of the illegal ivory trade live via satellite through the DRC, LRA territory, and Darfur. Article here, interactive map here, & NPR Fresh Air radio interview here.
  • New McKenzie paper on a microenterprise randomized randomized business plan/grant competition in Nigeria (PDF). Out of 24,000 entries, winners went on to grow significantly more, mostly due to the $50,000 grant enabling investment.
  • 538 has an article about p-values, replications and science with a fun live feature allowing you to p-hack “your way to scientific glory” proving conclusively that Republicans [or Democrats] are better [or worse] for the economy by adding or subtracting variables till you get to p<.05. The article’s point is that science is supposed to be iterative and media/public expectations about finality on any issue are unrealistic. And a lesson in realistic expectations from a group of biostatisticians writing up methods guidelines for other researchers:

“We had to go back about 17 [of our own] papers before we found one without an error”


  • great interview from the Center for Global Development podcast. In 20 minutes, Karthik Muralidharan manages to explain why large numbers of kids in the developing world drop out and how to fix it. The problems is curricula are designed for the top 20% of students, and those who can’t keep up get left behind. His one piece of advice to policymakers – focus relentlessly on getting kids basic reading and math skills by grade 2 so they’ll be able to benefit for the coming years.

And from the globalization file- Liam Murphy, an engineer form Ireland, was visiting Abu Dhabi and took a cab to Ferrari World theme park. When he found out his cab driver, an Indian guest worker, was going to wait outside for the day & had never been to a theme park the engineer paid for him to come along. So here’s your photo of an Indian migrant worker & Irish engineer on an Italian-themed roller coaster in an emirate.






2 Responses

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  2. I am terribly confused by that last link. Why are we highlighting this man? The idea is nice, but the article is irrelevant to development and (more importantly) insulting to the driver. We read this aloud to a room filled with IPA employees and everyone’s faces dropped.

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