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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Advice to Obama's Africa Team: Don't Change Too Much

The following commentary originally appeared on the impressive new global news site, GlobalPost

The world has colossal expectations for incoming President Barack Obama and for changes in U.S. foreign policy. However, the new administration’s approach to Africa will almost certainly be marked more by continuity than change. And that's good news for Africa -- and America.

Cheap is the New Black

In his first speech since Election Day, President-elect Obama warned yesterday that purse strings would be tight at the start of his term for the nation and its people.
But before Obama begins, Inauguration Day celebrations are causing those in DC to consider whether last year's purse strings are suitable attire for the upcoming balls and celebrations.

On RCTs and Impact Evaluation

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.

ABC's New Candid Camera Shows Challenge for Development-Friendly Migration Policy

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.

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