Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links


Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

030223-N-8119R-001 At sea in the Indian Ocean (Feb. 23, 2003) -- Navy doctors, Cmdr. Donald Bennett (left), and Cmdr. Ralph Jones (right), perform surgery on a civilian crewmember in one of the operating rooms aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Roy Rice. (RELEASED)

  • Chris Arnade is is a physics Ph.D. turned Wall Street trader, turned sociologist, documenting the post-industrial/forgotten towns in the U.S. He often tweets about  the disconnect between economic statistics and things that can’t be measured, particularly a pervasive feeling of hopelessness in the left-behind towns.
    • Thanks to Bill on this blog for pointing me to his EconTalk interview.
    • Here he takes issue with Krugman’s view of the political economy.
    • Here he argues that Universal Basic Income makes sense to an economist’s point of view, but not to a sociologist’s, because it will socially divide the country up into givers and takers, sowing further resentments.
    • His argument is that academic researchers have a limited view of the world through data sets, but recommends spending more time in other parts of the country. (I’ve heard development economists often say RCTs were very helpful to molding their understanding of development because it got them to go to the places they were studying and talk to people there.)
  • David Evans and Ana Popova show that if you give the poor money they don’t smoke or drink it away:

    We conduct a meta-analysis to gauge the average impact of transfers on temptation goods. Results show that on average cash transfers have a significant negative effect on total expenditures on temptation goods, equal to −0.18 standard deviations. This negative result is supported by data from Latin America, Africa, and Asia, for both conditional and unconditional cash transfer programs. A growing number of studies therefore indicate that concerns about the use of cash transfers for alcohol and tobacco are unfounded.

  • Some researchers think that some of China’s 30 million demographically “missing girls” (with the implication of abandonment/infanticide) are actually there, they’re just not officially registered in the census because of an implicit understanding between families and local authorities.
  • Tim Ogden makes the case for investing in microcredit. Even though on balance it’s not currently a poverty fix, it’s a working business model reaching many of the world’s poor. It’s time to experiment and see how to make it work better.
  • New Zealand to compensate organ donors (not to make money, but just paying for their lost wages so they at least break even). I believe the only market for kidneys is in Iran, and Tina Rosenberg did a nice examination of it here.
  • Your memory is not like a computer’s. A nice primer on memory and a good reminder if you’re planning to administer a 4-hour recall survey.

A sad reminder for parents – if you don’t talk to your kids about version control, they’ll just learn it on the street.

Image above via Wikimedia Commons.

4 Responses

  1. Canada also has a compensation program available for organ donors. Again, not to make money, but in the aim of helping break even.

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