Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

  • University students are protesting against raised fees in South Africa, and elections in Tanzania look close. Keep up with current goings on with Kim Yi Dionne on twitter or the This Week in Africa roundup.
  • Priceonomics looks at how prison gerrymandering works. In the US prisoners are counted as residents of the district where the prison is, but don’t get to vote. This means the largely minority/urban populations of prisons end up silently inflating the political representation of the rural White areas where they reside and are attractive political prizes, making for bizarre district lines. They cite a paper finding:

    “On average, we can expect a party that has recently taken control of the redistricting process to draw more than 5,000 prisoners from districts controlled by the other party or marginal districts into their safest districts.”

  • This week’s Ezra Klein spoke at the World Bank about popularizing research. Video here, but some takeaways:
    • Lots of research is inherently interesting – he makes a living from “arbitrage” of research the original authors haven’t popularized.
    • Many people forward based on just the headline or quick skim. Put the interesting/surprising thing up front, ideally in the headline.
    • PR company email blasts go to spam. A personal email from the actual researcher with heads up on a new paper carries much more weight.
  • Good explainers: Adam Davidson “You’re Not Supposed to Understand the Federal Reserve
  • Planet Money on why farmers sell their crops before they come in. Except for onions, because of this one time someone owned almost every onion in America and flooded Chicago with them.


And looks like it’s back to the drawing board for the office Halloween party:



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