A series of conversations between researchers and collaborators about projects taking place at the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford.
Cash Transfer Grants in South Africa during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Work Behind the ESRC Outstanding Public Policy Impact Award 2023
The CSAE's Kate Orkin has won the ESRC award for Outstanding Public Policy Impact 2023. Stefan Dercon talks to Kate about the work behind the cash grant programme in South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic that reached an extra 26.2 million people. Stefan Dercon is the CSAE Director and Professor of Economic Policy, University of Oxford, and Kate Orkin is the Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of Oxford.
AI and Services-led Growth: Evidence from Indian Job Adverts
Online job adverts show that the demand for AI related skills has grown rapidly in countries around the world since 2015. This project examines the demand for AI skills in India's service sector, using a new dataset of online job adverts. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Anticipatory Cash Transfers in Climate Disaster Response
Billions of dollars are spent annually on humanitarian support to households in crisis. Researchers discuss a large-scale evaluation that tests the impact of anticipatory cash transfers in response to floods in Bangladesh. Humanitarian workers carry out incredible lifesaving work every day on the front line of crisis response to assist those in the greatest need. Yet repeatedly, despite the fact that billions of dollars are spent annually on humanitarian support to households in crisis, there is very limited evidence on the impact of this support. This project is one of the first large-scale evaluations that rigorously tests the impact of humanitarian cash transfers in response to a sudden extreme weather event, and the importance of being timely for an impactful response. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Building Resilient Education Systems: Evidence from Large Scale Randomised Trials in Five Countries
Education systems need to withstand shocks that routinely close schools. Researchers discuss results from randomised trials evaluating the provision of education in emergency settings across 5 countries. Shocks such as weather, natural disasters, disease, and conflict frequently disrupt schooling. Education systems need to build resilience and be able to continue to provide education during these shocks. Following on from Youth Impact's work on distance education during the Covid-19 pandemic in Botswana, researchers ask would this approach scale to new settings, with government, and other education in emergencies? Focusing on a method called 'connectEd', a phone call tutorial programme used to deliver high quality education through mobile phone calls, this project replicated and scaled the work from Botswana in five randomised controlled trials in India, Nepal, Kenya, the Philippines, and Uganda. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Applying Wise Interventions around the World
Dr Greg Walton and Dr Kate Orkin discuss 'wise interventions', and how social science can use this psychologically approach to understand the major problems in social life - poverty, social exclusion, child abuse, and discrimination. One of the key goals of social science is to understand and address the major problems in social life –poverty, social exclusion, child abuse, and discrimination. Different lenses offer different tools. In this podcast, Dr Greg Walton and Dr Kate Orkin discuss a distinctly social-psychological approach, called psychologically “wise” interventions. These interventions precisely address how people make sense of themselves, other people, and social situations. Greg talks about his work synthesizing this field and developing the theory underlying wise interventions. Kate talks about her work as a development economist applying these ideas to low-income settings in Ethiopia and Kenya. Greg and Kate have demonstrated that even brief interventions can have long lasting effects on educational and economic success, as well as on wellbeing, job satisfaction, and community involvement.
References by speakers:
• World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior (https://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2015)
• Wise interventions database (https://www.wiseinterventions.org/), handbook (Walton, G. M., & Crum, A. J. (Eds.). (2020). Handbook of wise interventions. Guilford Publications), and Greg Walton’s work (http://gregorywalton-stanford.weebly.com/)
• Ethiopia Aspirations study (https://mbrg.bsg.ox.ac.uk/mind-and-behaviour-projects/aspirations-and-forward-looking-behaviour-rural-ethiopia), Kenya Aspirations study (https://mbrg.bsg.ox.ac.uk/mind-and-behaviour-projects/cash-transfers-and-aspirational-videos-kenya) and Kate Orkin’s other work (https://sites.google.com/site/kateorkin/home)
• Bugental, D. B., Ellerson, P. C., Lin, E. K., Rainey, B., Kokotovic, A., & O'Hara, N. (2002). A cognitive approach to child abuse prevention. Journal of Family Psychology, 16(3), 243. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12238408/
• Dr Greg Walton in conversation with Professor Anandi Mani at the Blavatnik School of Government https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phu1yH42jn0&ab_channel=BlavatnikSchoolofGovernment
• Bossuroy, T., Goldstein, M., Karimou, B., Karlan, D., Kazianga, H., Parienté, W., ... & Wright, K. A. (2022). Tackling psychosocial and capital constraints to alleviate poverty. Nature, 1-7. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04647-8
• Digital Green, Ethiopia https://www.digitalgreen.org/ethiopia/
• Paluck, E. L. (2009). Reducing intergroup prejudice and conflict using the media: a field experiment in Rwanda. Journal of personality and social psychology, 96(3), 574. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19254104/
• Elizabeth Tipton, generalizability research https://www.bethtipton.com/ and the National Study of Learning Mindsets (https://studentexperiencenetwork.org/national-mindset-study/) Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Strengthening Professionalism and Accountability within the Ghana Police Service using Identity Norms and Narratives
How do we change a corrupt norm? This project looks to address this question through a policy intervention, working with the Ghana Police Service, to try to change the behaviour of the traffic police through an innovative ethics training programme. One of the important factors that drive successful organisation is the behaviour of the people within that organisation. In many places, corruption has become a norm - a way of life - something that is generally accepted as a behavioural standard, and has long been one of the major obstacles to improving economic efficiency and reducing poverty in developing countries.
Donna Harris, Researcher at the University of Oxford; Oana Borcan, Associate Professor in Economics at the University of East Anglia; Bruno Schettini Secretariat for Coordination and Governance of the Heritage of the Union, Ministry of Economy, Danila Serra, Associate Professor in Economics at Texas A&M University; Henry Telli, Country Economist at the International Growth Centre.