Center for Effective Global Action
June 2016 - Impact Note

The journal  Development Engineering (Dev Eng) published its  first issue this month, as reported by . The issue includes articles co-authored by multiple CEGA affiliates, including an introduction that discusses the complex role of  technology in economic development . Dev Eng is an open access, interdisciplinary journal for research on innovative technologies that are improving welfare in developing countries, as well as novel measurement tools that increase the integrity of development data.


Building Inclusive and Effective Institutions: What Works and Why?  
On April 13-14, CEGA convened a workshop with representatives from 17 developing country governments, as part of its new  Economic Development and Institutions (EDI)  initiative. Funded by the UK Department for International Development, EDI's mission is to identify strategies that support the development of effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions. The workshop was led by CEGA affiliates  Ernesto Dal Bo  and  Frederico Finan (UC Berkeley) and has yielded more than a dozen new partnerships between researchers and policy-makers. EDI will now begin building a portfolio of RCTs, through a series of competitions designed to source innovative new ideas.
CEGA Research Featured in IPA's Goldilocks Toolkit    

Are you harnessing new technologies for program monitoring and evaluation (M&E)? CEGA, along with  Innovations for Poverty Action , has just released the  Goldilocks Toolkit , an online resource for development organizations. Through  case studies  on more than a dozen non-profits and social businesses, Goldilocks demonstrates how to build "right fit" systems to track the performance and impact of development programs. CEGA has contributed a series of technology scans to the toolkit, describing how  mobiles sensors , and  satellites  are increasingly used for M&E.

Make it Rain: Insights from 10 RCTs on Weather Index Insurance

Photo: Stephen Dupont 
The  Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) released a  new policy bulletin  synthesizing rigorous evidence about the take up and impacts of weather index insurance, a tool to address income risks faced by smallholder farmers. While the insurance is designed to protect farmers against losses from extreme weather (and therefore encourage investment in farms), randomized evaluations in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have shown low demand for these products at market prices, suggesting the need for alternative approaches.

Launching Energy for Economic Growth 

In April, CEGA  announced a new multi-year research initiative on  Energy for Economic Growth (EEG) , funded by the UK Department for International Development. The program, led by CEGA affiliates  Catherine Wolfram and  Paul Gertler , seeks to learn how investments in large-scale energy access can promote poverty alleviation and economic growth, while minimizing costs to the environment. More information is available online  or by  subscribing to the EEG email list .

CEGA Welcomes New Affiliates

Susan Hyde
Several new faculty affiliates have recently joined CEGA: Beatriz Magaloni-Kerpel (Stanford), Raul Sanchez de la Sierra (UC Berkeley), Bruce Wydick (University of San Francisco), Ganesh Iyer (UC Berkeley), Rachel Heath (University of Washington), and Susan Hyde (UC Berkeley). These researchers bring new expertise in labor economics, poverty reduction, democracy promotion, marketing science, and political economy.
Remote Sensing: A New Way To Detect Poverty
New kinds of data - from satellite imagery, mobile phones, and other remote sensing innovations - are changing the way we combat poverty around the world.  The New York Times recently featured CEGA affiliates' use of machine learning to generate insights that improve the design of anti-poverty programs.

Rural Electric Power Project (REPP) covered in ASME Demand 

The latest edition of  ASME Demand highlights the Rural Electric Power Project  (REPP), a study led by CEGA affiliates  Eric Brewer Ted Miguel , and  Catherine Wolfram . The project rigorously measures the socioeconomic impacts of electrification in Kenya. By tracing demand for electricity among low-income households, the project is also informing Kenya's power utility pricing and government subsidy rates across the country.

Photo: Felix Clay

What Are the Economic and Social Consequences of Climate Change?  
While scientists have made great strides in understanding the physical and biological dimensions of climate change, a missing link is emerging:  what are the economic and social consequences of climate change? CEGA affiliate  Marshall Burke and co-authors argue in a new  Science paper that relatively low funding for social science research has contributed to a knowledge gap about what climate change means for human society. This can render the large advances in natural science less useful than they could be for policymakers. The paper highlights key research questions with the greatest potential to close that gap.

For Your Reconsideration 

In 2015,  Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS)  Prize recipients Joshua Kalla, David Broockman, and Peter Aronow tried (but failed) to replicate a study of political canvassing and its impact on attitudes towards same sex marriage. The study was subsequently retracted, but Kalla and Broockman have carried on, publishing a very transparent study of the effect of canvassing on transphobia. Published in  Science and reported on  This American Life , the new study finds that 10 minute conversations with voters can drastically reduce transphobic attitudes, with effects persisting for as long as three months.

Manisha Shah Blog Features BERI

A piece written by CEGA affiliate Manisha Shah and Behavioral Economics in Reproductive Health Initiative (BERI)  staff was published on the blog for , an educational and networking site for academics and others interested in behavioral economics (BE). The blog post stresses that while behavioral economics is gaining traction in the field of international development, there is still too little research on the application of BE tools to problems in Family Planning/Reproductive Health.

Nicholas Obradovich
How to Convince Someone to Care About Climate Change

A new study co-authored by 2014 Levin Family Fellow Nicholas Obradovich found that people may be more motivated to act on climate change if they believe it to be a collective issue, suggesting that current messaging to convince individuals to adopt an attitude of personal responsibility may be ineffective in encouraging action.

Photo: Carson Christiano

Fintech for Global Development

On May 9, CEGA held its annual Evidence to Action (E2A) symposium with a focus on "Fintech for Global Development." Hosted by Hal Varian at Google's San Francisco offices, E2A showcased the work of CEGA affiliates and their partners to assess the role of financial technology in promoting inclusive economic growth. The event featured a number of high-level speakers from fintech companies and startups.

Now Accepting Nominations for the 2016 BITSS Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes

BITSS is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes for Open Social Science . Consisting of 2 prize categories, the competition awards young scholars engaged in projects that advance the open science movement or adopt transparent research practices and faculty who have developed and integrated transparency curricula into their courses.

Interested in Research Transparency? BITSS Online Course Videos Now Available

BITSS now offers  online training videos  on topics such as publication bias, pre-registration and pre-analysis plans, replication, data visualization, and more!

CEGA is Growing!

We are expanding our team with openings for the following full-time positions: Global Networks Program Manager , and Technology and