How reliable is survey data on personality traits from low- and middle-income countries?

Last week in the Weekly Links, David McKenzie shared a new paper recently published in Science. The paper, by Laajaj et al., examines the validity of quantitative measurements of the “Big 5” personality traits (e.g., openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability) in developing countries. Here is the punchline:

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Failure, Frustration, and Formation of Aspirations in Nepal

I am a bit behind on this, but earlier this year a nice new paper on aspirations was published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. The paper, entitled “Aspirations Failure and Formation in rural Nepal” is co-authored by a team of researchers who are currently performing really interesting field-work in Nepal. Here is a link to a Feed the Future Policy Brief and here is the abstract to the paper:

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RCTs as “Gold Standard”?

Earlier this year I read Tim Ogden’s book entitled, “Experimental Conversations: Perspectives on Randomized Trials in Development Economics“*. Including interviews from the “randomistas” (e.g. Michael Kremer, Ester Duflo, Abijit Bannerjee, Dean Karlan), “skeptics” (e.g. Angus Deaton), and folks not typically associated with RCTs (e.g. Tyler Cowen), it was an interesting book to read. One of the “dogs that didn’t bark” in the book was the statement that RCTs are the gold standard.

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