Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links

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Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.


  • Bridge Academies, the low-cost private school franchise supported by Bill Gates,  Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, DFID, and others has been stopped from expanding by the Kenyan government, even as it has been growing in other countries.
  • Someone is making a version of the irreverent game Cards Against Humanity about aid workers, which in 3 days has already exceeded their Kickstarter goal (h/t Julia B.)
  • A new WHO/UNICEF report says Malaria rates have dropped by 60 percent since 2000, but another study finds rates higher near all the new dams built to provide power in sub-Saharan Africa.
  •  Previous research has found persistent “cultures of honor,” people developing reputations for being tough in places where law enforcement was historically weak. A paper finds current higher rates of violence in Canadian counties that were distant from early Mountie outposts in 1890-1920, and hockey players from those counties receiving more penalty time (PDF, via Marginal Revolution).
  • Cass Sunstein addresses two potential criticisms of President Obama’s new directive to use behavioral science to improve government programs. While behavioral tweaks often result in small (say 5-10%) improvements, that multiplies to a lot of people nationally. As for the idea that they’re manipulative, he says that they should always be in service of existing agreed upon goals (such as improving retirement savings) and agencies should be open and accountable about it, but we’re all better off when programs are designed to function well (h/t Jessica K.)

And, Greece has been having trouble convincing the EU it can boost economic output. Their case might not be helped by the new napping desk developed there:


(they might run into patent trouble due to prior work by one Costanza, G.)

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