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Weekly links March 23: recall revisited, Imbens critiques the Cartwright-Deaton RCT critiques, a new source for learning causal inference, and more...

David McKenzie's picture
  • The bias in recall data revisited: On the Ifpri blog, Susan Godlonton and co-authors discuss their work on “mental anchoring” - the tendency to rely too heavily on only one piece of information (the "anchor") when making a decision – they use panel data where they ask people about both current outcomes, and to recall outcomes from a year ago. They find that people use their current outcomes as an anchor in trying to recall what happened a year ago “a $10 increase reported in the 2013 concurrent report for monthly income was associated with a $7.50 increase in the recalled monthly income for 2012”
  • Scott Cunningham posts his “mixtape” on teaching causal inference -  a textbook that may be of particular interest to many of our readers because of its applied focus, use of Stata examples and Stata datasets, and also coverage of some topics not found in many of the alternatives (e.g. directed acyclical graphs, synthetic controls).

Making textbooks affordable and available for every student in Kenya

Nalin Jena's picture

Every January just before the start of the new school year, parents in Kenya and across Africa often face a huge headache: purchasing textbooks and school uniforms for the school year ahead. Textbooks are prohibitively expensive and often unavailable for many parents struggling to provide their children with a quality education.

Imagination Meets Innovation

Cyril Muller's picture

In 2005, Wayne Fromm, a Canadian inventor, filed for US patent # 7,684,694. Today, Fromm’s invention is known around the globe as a ‘selfie stick.’  Although this invention is now synonymous with cellphones, it had its film debut nearly fifty years ago, as a prop in a 1969  sci-fi film called “I killed Einstein, Gentlemen.”

In this case, it took almost five decades for technology to finally meet people’s imagination. In the same 1960s, expectations were that flying cars would be the norm by 2000. In 2000, these expectations had not materialized and flying cars seemed again the domain of science-fiction. Yet, today they are becoming reality.

Understanding Multidimensional Risks to Prevent Conflict

David Hammond's picture

Risk management is a topic that conjures up mind-numbing images of log frames, badly rendered PowerPoint process diagrams, and “handbooks” that often run many hundreds of pages. Cast in this light, many tend to see risk management in narrow terms—as a box-checking exercise, a mere process to avoid a loss, or lowering the probability of a bad thing from occurring. A key takeaway from the recommendations of the UN-World Bank jointly published report, Pathways for Peace, is the urgent need to jettison this narrow managerial and technocratic view of risk management toward a more dynamic, sophisticated, and ambitious view of risk that ought to place it at the very core of how humanitarian and development practice can achieve better outcomes.

Kigali Water: Lessons from Africa’s first water PPP

Emilio Cattaneo's picture
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Photo: People Image Studio | Shutterstock

This World Water Day, the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is celebrating the success of the Kigali Bulk Water Project in Rwanda’s capital.
The large-scale water treatment plant, due for completion in 2020, will produce 40 megaliters of clean water per day, equivalent to one-third of Kigali's total supply. Water will be drawn from the Nyabarongo River to be treated before distributing a clean supply to up to 500,000 domestic, commercial, and industrial customers. Kigali Water represents a landmark as the first water project to be developed using a public-private partnership (PPP) model in sub-Saharan Africa.

Navigating education's complexity: A review of the 2018 WDR

Brian Levy's picture

In a sector where a proliferation of research seemingly has contributed at least as much to confusion as to progress, the 2018 World Development Report (WDR), Learning to Realize Education’s Promise  sheds new light, and points towards fresh, hopeful pathways forward. It is a landmark contribution.
“Education for all” was the seductive promise of the millennium. Yet all too many children are attending school without acquiring even basic literacy or numeracy.  Why?


The latest research in economics on Africa: The CSAE round-up

Markus Goldstein's picture

This post was coauthored with Niklas Buehren, Joao Montalvao, Sreelakshmi Papineni, and Fei Yuan.   This team couldn’t attend all 106 sessions so coverage is limited.  If there is a paper you saw that you think people should know about please submit a comment. 

You can skim the full summary, or you can skip to one of the topics: Agriculture, conflict, credit, savings, risk and insurance, education, electricity access, firms, health and nutrition, households and networks, institutions, labor, political economy, poverty and inequality, and using evidence to inform policy.

The full program and links to most of the papers is available here

New leadership for community-based natural resource management in Mozambique

André Rodrigues de Aquino's picture
Coal selling in Quirimbas National Park, Mozambique. Photo: Andrea Borgarello/World Bank

Night had descended and the rain that had persisted for days finally calmed when the Maputo Declaration of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) was finally agreed upon. But the result was worth the wait.

Getting Zimbabwe’s agriculture moving again: The beckoning of new era

Innocent Kasiyano's picture

‘Our Economic Policy will be predicated on our agriculture which is the mainstay…’ said Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his inaugural speech in November 2017, setting a new tone for agricultural development in the country. While reiterating that the principles that led to land reform cannot be “challenged” or “reversed,” he called for a “commitment to the utilization of the land for national food security and for the recovery of our economy.”

From London to Abidjan and Accra: Making your chocolate deforestation-free

Richard Scobey's picture
Photo: World Cocoa Foundation.

For five years now, the global community has been observing the International Day of Forests on March 21. It is an occasion to celebrate the wide range of economic and social benefits that forests and trees bring to humankind. Since joining the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) as its president in July 2016, I have been paying lots of attention to forests in West Africa, which is the world’s leading source of cocoa. These tropical forests, and others like them around the world, play an indispensable role in fighting global climate change by storing carbon. They also meet vital local needs, by cooling temperatures, helping generate rainfall, and purifying the air and water. Healthy forests help rural communities thrive. The paradox is that, over the last 10 years, life-giving forests in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana were felled at an alarming rate as cocoa farmers, faced with challenges such as low prices, climate change, and low productivity, have expanded the land area on which they grow cocoa. The crop, essential for the chocolate and cocoa products that many of us love, is now seen as a major driver of deforestation in these countries.