Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action

  • India’s government is hiring behavioral scientists for a new nudge unit (h/t Neela Saldanha)
  • Cancer researcher Peter Bach points out how Novartis used anchoring to set price expectations high for a new immunotherapy, making a 2 million dollar drug price (much higher than other life-saving treatments) sound reasonable years in advance by consistently referring to the new treatments in development as “million dollar therapies.”
  • Duke University researchers apparently violated their IRB requirements by compiling a video database of thousands of students on their way to class to use in facial recognition development. The data was made available widely and has been used by companies in China, where AI and facial recognition have been used in state surveillance and repression (though it’s unclear the role of this specific dataset).
  • I enjoyed these Six Questions with Martin Ravallion.
  • Noah Smith reviews studies showing the effectiveness of management consulting helping businesses in low-income countries. I’ve heard several people who’ve observed firms say that what they see missing is basic middle management skills (operations, marketing, etc.)
  • Andrew Foster, Dean Karlan, Edward Miguel, and Aleksandar Bogdanoski wrote a post on the IPA and World Bank Development Impact blogs reviewing what they’ve learned from the Journal of Development Economics’ experiment having a pre-results review track. Overall it seems to have gone well, and they’re making it permanent.
  • There’s been a dust-up online over this study, which tested encouragements/incentives for university students in Hong Kong to participate in anti-authoritarian protests and caused some surprise online (I believe it went through several university IRBs). (Update: Berk Ozler discusses the paper and how to potentially avoid misunderstandings around ethical considerations.)
  • For students or anybody dealing with busy people – how to manage up for working with your academic adviser – be aware of their time constraints, and be very specific on what you need (via Lindsay Page).
  • Jobs at IPA:
    • Chris Blattman is looking for an RA to work in Colombia studying gang politics (must be very good with local Colombian contexts).
    • Work on my team, in the policy group! We try to get evidence used around the world, making results understandable, supporting embedded research labs in governments, and lots of other stuff to make sure good findings get put into practice.

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