Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

David Roodman's Microfinance Open Book Blog

Draft chapters, burning questions, useful sources.

 

I’m Going to Gates

Twenty-five years ago today, I walked into Building 1 of the Microsoft Corporation’s wooded campus in Redmond, WA, and reported for work as a programming intern. I had a pretty good time that summer. What I remember most is wondering whether I should buy a bit of stock in the company—and then spending all my earnings on long-distance calls to my new girlfriend.

A Concrete Abstract

Business training programs are a popular policy option to try to improve the performance of enterprises around the world. The last few years have seen rapid growth in the number of evaluations of these programs in developing countries. We undertake a critical review of these studies with the goal of synthesizing the emerging lessons and understanding the limitations of the existing research and the areas in which more work is needed. We find that there is substantial heterogeneity in the length, content, and types of firms participating in the training programs evaluated.

Cross-post: Cato Tops New CGD Index of Think Tank Profile

On CGD's main blog, Julia Clark and I just posted a ranking of noted American think tanks based on their ability to generate public profile: press mentions, academic citations, web traffic, and social media followers. The effort is aimed at providing some healthy methodological competition for another ranking of think tanks, this one looking at institutions around the world, which experts have mostly criticized.

Ich bin ein Über-Geek

One popular statistical software package in academia is Stata. CGD has always used it, and thus so have I. As my colleague Mead Over pointed out, Stata's business model is an interesting mix of private and public goods provision. The private corporation profits by cultivating a public free-software community on top of its core product. Stata sells you the main program, which includes commands to perform all sorts of analyses.

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