Links, May 25

May 2015

The Chicago Booth School’s Initiative on Global Markets takes opinion polls of economists on various policy questions, like school vouchers or the gold standard. Be sure to (a) read the economists’ comments, since sometimes people interpret the questions differently; and (b) try not to update too much on Daron Acemoglu’s views just because he’s alphabetically the first economist.

David Roodman (now working for GiveWell/Open Philanthropy Project) has an interesting post on mounting evidence that moderate drinking isn’t good for you. Essentially, the “moderate alcohol is good for you” studies were all observational, so they had a hard time dealing with causal identification (e.g., it could be that ceteris paribus healthier people drink more). Meanwhile, cheap genome sequencing now means that we can do cool instrumental-variables type analyses, which tend to show negative effects from drinking even at low levels. (Interesting discussion in the comments about how valid the Mendelian instrumentation actually is.)

Charity Science randomizes some of their fundraisers to receive matching funds or seed funding. (Relevant to my donation matching lit review.) It’ll be interesting to see more detailed analysis of their results!


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