Chris Blattman

IPA’s Weekly Links

Guest Post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

  • CondomsFiveThirtyEight has the story about the accumulation of evidence that microloans aren’t effective poverty solutions. Rupert Scofield of microlender FINCA says:

FINCA has now developed its own measure of success, a step Scofield now says he wishes he had taken earlier. But he said he already knows that the outside researchers’ findings are flawed. “The fact that they would reach these conclusions that I personally know to be false really discredits them in my eyes,” Scofield said.

  • When Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced they’d be donating most of their Facebook stock to helping others there was an inexplicable pile-on suggesting this was somehow selfish or a way to get around taxes (examples here and *ahem*). There’s a nice discussion of that and many other things on Slate’s current Moneybox podcast.
  • Whatever happened with the the Gates million dollar “Condom of the Future” contest from a couple years ago? reports that several ideas were awarded initial funding, but it takes more than a million dollars and a decade to get FDA approval, so none will likely ever be commercialized.
  • The recent Burkina Faso election, in addition to giving the country a new president for the first time in nearly thirty years, was also the first election (as I understand it) to have continuous live data posted thanks to the Burkina Open Data Initiative. (via Harrison)
  • The Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes for Open Social Sciences were awarded today including to Eva Vivalt, the economist responsible for AidGrade which lets anybody synthesize multiple studies in an area of development.
  • The success of cash transfers has led to reconsideration of the “basic income” guarantee as a social safety net, and Finland is conducting an experiment with it, which hopefully will be randomized to test different versions.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in the news. Let’s not forget to believe in magic.

photo credit: Paul Keller.

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