Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links

Demotivate yourself

Guest Post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action

  • Hope everybody’s off to a great new year, and good luck to all the job candidates interviewing at ASSA. Also, remember from the last links that Ben Casselman, who’s been co-reporting on sexual harassment in economics for the New York Times, is there and happy to meet confidentially with anybody who wants to tell him about their experience. If you’re not on twitter, feel free to email me and I’ll put you in touch with him (confidentially of course).
  • At the Data Colada blog Uri Simonsohn realizes that publishing articles with links online (such as to news articles) is problematic as links die or change over time. He reviewed links in his articles since 2005 and found over half didn’t work anymore, and recommends a simple fix: Instead of the direct URL, link to the Internet Archive version of it.
  • Preanalysis plans (PAPs), where you specify your analysis before you see the data, can be a bit controversial. Some say a PAP ties your hands and prevents you from exploring things you might only find out about later. Psychologist and open science advocate Sanjay Srivastava offers six strategies which you can use instead of or alongside a PAP to allow for more flexible analysis without letting you fool yourself.
  • Daniel Kahneman explains why he’s become less interested in understanding happiness and more in how to live a satisfying life (if the article’s intermittently gated, try in your browser’s incognito mode). You can take Yale’s popular course on happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being from Professor Laurie Santos online for free and decide for yourself. A couple interesting observations from Kahneman, about British economist Richard Layard who started paying attention to the research and bringing improving overall happiness and well-being into policy there:

“The involvement of economists like Layard and Deaton made this issue more respectable,” Kahneman added with a smile. “Psychologists aren’t listened to so much. But when economists get involved, everything becomes more serious, and research on happiness gradually caught the attention of policy-making organizations.

“Much of Layard’s activity on behalf of happiness in England related to bolstering the mental health system. In general, if you want to reduce suffering, mental health is a good place to start – because the extent of illness is enormous and the intensity of the distress doesn’t allow for any talk of happiness.”