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Mar 08, 2012

IPA/CEGA Education Event: Does More Education Empower Women

Michael Kremer from Harvard University presented in the second half of the morning on the results of a study he conducted to assess whether empowerment and political engagement increase for girls who stay in school longer.

Mar 06, 2012

IPA/CEGA Education Event: Findings on Computer-Aided Instruction

Mar 05, 2012

IPA/CEGA Education Event: Affecting Student Learning

This post summarizes findings from a group of studies in education that were presented on March 1, 2012 at a half day event hosted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the University of California’s Center for Evaluation for Global Action (CEGA). Please forgive any errors or omissions.

Feb 13, 2012

Excerpt from Interview with David McKenzie, Part II

For my upcoming book, Experimental Conversations, I’m interviewing a variety of economists conducting field experiments on poverty interventions. Here’s the second excerpt from my interview with David McKenzie, an economist at the World Bank (and now prolific blogger at the World Bank’s Development Impact blog) who has been studying the dynamics of microenterprises. David’s goal is to better understand how profitable these firms are, why they don’t grow, and how we may be able to help put them onto a growth path.

Feb 08, 2012

Excerpt from Interview with David McKenzie, Part I

Jan 04, 2012

More on the role of Women in Development

I just found this review paper by Esther Duflo that surveys research on how economic development affects the status of women and how the changing status of women affects economic development.

For the record, my priors, as I hope are documented in the conversation with Barbara, are:
* If your goal is economic development, focusing on women is likely a sub-optimal strategy.
* Rapid economic development may have a greater impact on women’s empowerment than a strategy focused on economically empowering women.

I’m looking forward to having those priors challenged.

Dec 09, 2011

Living with the Gates Foundation

Describing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the world’s largest foundation is accurate but a substantial understatement. Its annual giving is more than six times larger than its closest “peer.” There are fewer than 100 US foundations that give more than $50 million annually. The Gates Foundation gives $50 million per week.

But it’s not just the amount of giving that distinguishes the foundation. As Ed Skloot puts it, the foundation “differs from the institutional norm in almost every way: in size, ambition, high-level connections, proactivity, long-term commitment, operational engagement, and public leadership.” The Gates Foundation is treading new ground, changing expectations and the policy environment of philanthropy by its very existence.

If you find these questions vital and interesting, I’d invite you to join a webinar on Living with the Gates Foundation, hosted by Stanford Social Innovation Review next week.

Aug 26, 2011

A Debate on the Role of Microcredit in Supporting Women and Girls

Jul 13, 2011

Bad News for Cynics and Optimists: An Extended Interview with Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Whenever I read one of Banerjee’s and Duflo’s papers or talk with them I walk away with the exhilaration that only comes from (as the economist’s would say) changing my priors—in other words, I learn something and look at the world in a new way. That’s why I was so excited to spend more than an hour talking with them this spring after Poor Economics came out. We’re publishing a transcript of that extended interview in parts because it runs to over 6000 words in its entirety. 

Over the course of the interview we discuss microcredit, microenterprise funding and growth, labor markets in developing and developed countries, the evidence for focusing on women and girls with aid programs, the debate over RCTs and how they think about their own impact on changing the world.

Apr 26, 2011

Two New Books on Small Ways to Help the Poor: More Than Good Intentions and Poor Economics

Two new books from the world of development economics offer solid arguments for why all of us should care more about the small things than the big things: More Than Good Intentions, by Yale economist Dean Karlan and his co-writer Jacob Appel, and Poor Economics by MIT economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.

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