Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two from Chris Blattman

From 15th May, IPA Weekly links:
  • A new IPA/J-PAL six-country randomized controlled trial looking at the ultra-poor (people living on less than what $1.25 would buy in the US, about 1 in 7 people worldwide), was published in Science. The Graduation approach offers six things:
    • A “productive asset” (way to make a living, livestock, or goods to start a store, or beehives to make honey)
    • Training on how to use it
    • Basic health support to keep them healthy enough to work
    • “Consumption support” – some cash or food for daily living while they’re learning to use the asset
    • Weekly visits from a coach for 2 years to help them overcome obstacles and raise aspirations
    • A savings account to help them build a buffer for future expenses
The researchers found benefits across the board, and scale-ups are happening in Ethiopia, India, and Pakistan. Study here (ungated), and more on the Graduation approach from NPR and the New York Times Fixes."
And from 26th May The geek heretic : One of the ideas in the book is that technology takes us only as far as our capabilities. A nice quote from Bill Gates sums it up:
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an
efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

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