Chris Blattman

IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action.

  • You can register for the big NEUDC development conference, featuring an opening address by Penny Goldberg, held Fri Nov 6 – Sat Nov 7, now all online!
    • You can also still submit an abstract (500 word limit) for a lightning round session, deadline Monday!
  • Cool paper comparing 150 education interventions from Noam Angrist, David Evans, Deon Filmer, Rachel Glennerster, F. Halsey Rogers and Shwetlena Sabarwal. They use a common metric, how much of a year’s worth of education in a high performing country like Singapore a program would give and, (when possible) for how much money. They find the best deals in 3 interventions:
    • Giving families information about how much staying in school is worth to a child’s future earnings
    • Teacher professional development and monitoring
    • And targeted instruction, making sure the content being taught is correct for each child’s level (including programs like catch-up tutoring for kids who can’t keep up with the class):

In India, targeted instruction yields up to 4 additional learning-adjusted years of schooling per $100—a gain equivalent to the entire system-level education gap between India and Argentina.

  • IPA is part of a consortium of organizations promoting a combination of inexpensive testing and targeting instructions to help make up learning losses from COVID school closings around the world, and is trying to get the word out to education policymakers and organizations. Learn more in a webinar on October 29th.
  • Job info:
    • Job Market Candidates, the annual Blog Your Job Market Paper opportunity is open on the Dev Impact Blog! (submission deadline Nov 5).
    • It’s a rough job market all around, FWIW I spoke to a friend of mine who is in the niche business of assessing economic damages for trials (a form of litigation consulting), who said the field is going like gangbusters and it’s a fine job for econ Ph.D.s, though like any non-academic field you have to quickly get up to speed in the unwritten rules of what counts as important (the legal world has its own ways of arguing and presenting information, though once you’ve mastered it, it’s pretty straightforward), so you need to find somewhere willing to train you and not throw you in the deep end. In his experience Stata is standard, though he’s heard of people using R. He recommends approaching firms through recruiters or the contact email on the website (which is usually monitored by someone high up since that’s how clients find them).
    • Another amazing job opportunity, Research Director at GiveDirectly, based in Kampala, Kigali, Lilongwe, London, Monrovia, Nairobi or New York.
    • And the World Bank’s Gender Innovation Lab is hiring for a 3-year postdoc (or Master’s + 4 yrs experience) on measures for advancing gender equality.
    • 2 postdocs in development economics for scholars from low- and middle-income countries at the University of Göttingen in Germany
    • And fellowships at Brookings
  • The nice folks at the Financial Access Initiative have a webinar Oct 28th on what we do and don’t know about helping low-income families save (in the U.S. and abroad).
  • I don’t recommend listening to Tyler Cowen’s conversation with Michael Kremer while driving, because I missed my turn engrossed in his explanation of how incentives work for innovation, including vaccine development. I knew about Advance Market Commitments (commitments in advance to buy enough doses to make the initial R&D investment profitable), which had worked for a pneumonia vaccine in low-income countries (partially, since much of the R&D had already been done for strains in wealthy countries). I didn’t know that the original committee had also recommended a malaria AMC, but that was shelved in favor of one that offered (perhaps for political reasons) a more likely short-term win.
  • And Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs will face the highest fine ever (in the low billions) for violating anti-corruption laws, funneling money from a multi-billion dollar Malaysian investment fund  called 1MDB  into personal pockets:

In all, some $2.7 billion of the money raised for 1MDB was stolen by people connected to the country’s former prime minister and diverted for bribes, a luxury yacht, fine art and even funding for the Hollywood movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

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