Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 12.51.46 PM

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action

One of the videos shown by Green, et. al, for the study below
  • A nice piece in Vox about a study by Columbia’s Don Green, Anna Wilke, & Jasper Cooper with my colleagues at IPA in Uganda, using really nice, locally produced videos from the NGO Peripheral Vision International, shown along with popular U.S. movies, which reduced violence against women. Plain language summary of the research, full paper.
    • One note, the route wasn’t preachy, in fact a version that emphasized legal punishment for men failed. The way which it seemed to work was peripherally, by changing the perception of public norms about reporting and talking about domestic violence (more in this tweetstorm).
  • A favor if you’re in an org that uses monitoring and evaluation data – some friends at LSE are conducting a survey of how this data is produced and used. If you could take or pass it along to colleagues we’d appreciate it.
  • Marginal Revolution University announced a new series profiling inspiring women in economics. At the bottom of the page you can sign up on the website for when the videos profiling their work are released (seems like a great teaching tool). There’s also a form to suggest an economist to profile who has inspired you.
  • This was a beautiful and also sad story about designing a school in Oklahoma specifically for homeless kids. And a reminder to talk to the actual users of your program/product. They started by asking homeless kids what they wanted:

One of the requests was just to have space where they could hang out with friends. “We have kids who don’t get to go to playdates. They don’t do birthday parties,” says Agel. At public schools, homeless children are typically left out of the social calendar of sleepovers or visiting friends’ houses, in part because they have nowhere to host friends themselves. 

  • Rachel Strohm’s Africa Update newsletter has tons of great news stories, research findings, and fellowship opportunities (subscribe at the very bottom).
  • In the context of the discussion around the new World Bank head, Paul Romer has an op-ed in the Financial Times (ungated version here) where he suggests two improvements to the World Bank’s process: Insulating their agenda-setting from politics and diplomacy, and building future thinking into infrastructure – building capacity for where the population will be five years from now, not just at the moment.
  • GiveWell is expanding its interests beyond the narrowly measurable RCTed interventions of the absolute best deals, and is also expanding into government advocacy.
  • Jobs:
  • One of the most popular pages on this blog is Chris’ advice on whether to get a Ph.D. He’s included in this column on the topic by Kristen Berman, Zoë Chance, & Shannon White. I liked this quote from Chance:

When a working professional tells me, “I’m thinking of getting a Ph.D.,” they usually mean, “I’m thinking it would be nice to have a Ph.D.”
A Ph.D. is sort of like the perfect gym body. The having is nice, but the getting can be painful—and once you’re there, you never stop.

  • A fun and helpful discussion from Goats and Soda with researchers about how cultures around the world linguistically label and think about different sub-types of anger (in India for example, political anger vs. anger against a loved one), and how to use that as a technique for dealing with your own anger. (I propose a new word for “online outrage”)

And my favorite new research parody account is the Center for Open Sandwiches: