Our former postdoc Chris Blattman has terrific advice for aspiring graduate students wondering if they should get into the business (via a Ph.D) of impact evaluation via randomized controlled trials (RCTs) -- RCTs have apparently become all the rage. For development aficionados an RCT-based Ph.D. has many benefits: field work in exotic settings, a rationale for doing applied empirical work while also being visibly rigorous and scientific (!) and apparently, a straightforward path to a journal publication.
CGD Policy Blogs
Last night, ABC's "What Would You Do?" featured an intriguing hidden camera experiment on attitudes towards migrant workers. The set up was simple: in a New Jersey deli, actors portrayed a cashier hurling insults and refusing to serve a pair of Latino day laborers because they did not speak English and carried "illegal alien money." The point was to capture the responses of unknowing customers who were asked for help.
In The Fate of Young Democracies, CGD Visiting Fellow Ethan Kapstein and co-author Nathan Converse attempt to explain why many newly democratized countries experience political reversals. They call these reversals "Major Democratic Transitions"-- a phrase that makes our demographic ears perk up.