Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (46)

Work on the climate change project in my office in the afternoon.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (45)

Work on the climate change project with my colleagues.

The job offer outcome is out today. Three of the four candidates we offered a job of assistant professorship have accepted the offer. A great news for us.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (44)

1. Work on the climate change project with my colleagues.

2. Finish writing and submit the referee report.

3. Read Wright (2008). He empirically finds: (1) Among autocratic regimes, personal rule and monarchy are more likely to be found in countries with mineral resources and small population. (2) The cross-sectional correlation between the regime stability and the likelihood of the presence of national legislature in autocracies is positive for single-party and military regimes but negative for personal rules and monarchies.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (43)

Work on the climate change project with my colleagues.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (42)

1. Read a paper that I'm asked to write a referee report on in the morning.

2. Work on the climate change project with my colleagues in the afternoon.

3. Start writing a referee report for the paper mentioned above in the evening.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (41)

1. Work on the climate change project myself in the morning

2. Attend a brown bag seminar presented by one of our PhD students at lunchtime.

3. Work on the climate change project with my colleagues in the afternoon.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (40)

Come to my office in the afternoon to work on the climate change project.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (39)

Come to office in the afternoon to work a bit on the climate change project on my own.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (38)

1. Attend our recruitment meeting in the morning. We have decided whom to offer a job as an assistant professor.

2. Work on the climate change project with my colleagues until late evening.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (37)

1. Work on the climate change project with my colleague.

2. Lunch with our last job market candidate.

3. Attend a development economics student workshop.

4. Attend a job talk.

5. Grade all the job market candidates whose job talk I attended, for out meeting on the recruitment tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (36)

1. Write and submit a referee report.

2. Learn a bit about HIV and email comments to my fellow development economists in Japan on their project on HIV prevention in Africa.

3. A colleague with whom I'm working on the climate change project visits my office and lets me know what he learns from the medical literature about how malaria infection during pregnancy (which will be affected by climate change!) increases child mortality. This gives us an idea of the empirical specification.

An Economist's take on HIV in Africa

A well-done lecture on what we really know about HIV in Africa, delivered by Emily Oster:


Summary: (1) An emphasis on education may be misleading because preventive behavior appears to be linked with life expectancy. (2) The HIV prevalence rates in African countries, reported by US Census Bureau, are likely to exaggerate the actual prevalence. (3) Poverty do not seem to be the cause of the spread of HIV infection.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (35)

1. Learn about leadership successions in Laos in 1992 and in Liberia in 1971 for the autocracy project.

2. Work on the climate change project with my colleagues for the whole afternoon. We've made some progress.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (33)

After doing laundry, buying an iPod Classic and foods in the city center, and cleaning the bathroom, I go to my office, working on the climate change project for three hours in the evening.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (32)

Read Maccini and Yang's paper entitled "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall" (forthcoming in American Economic Review) for the climate change project. Indonesian women are taller and more educated if it rains more than average during the first year of life. No such relationship between early childhood rainfall and men's height and education.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (31)

1. Work a little bit on the African democracy paper. Datasets occupy my disk space too much. I need to transfer and zip them.

2. Lunch with the visiting student, commenting on her works.

3. Work with my colleague on the climate change project for the whole afternoon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (30)

1. Continue working on the revision of the African democracy paper.

2. Work on the climate change project. Learn about how diarrhea is affected by climate. Available evidence suggests that the number of diarrhea cases linearly increases with temperature but has an U-shaped relationship with rainfall, presumably because little precipitation forces people to use dirty water and too much rain floods dirty water.

Day of an Assistant Professor (29)

CORRECTED on 22 Feb.

1. Attend a lunch-time seminar at Handels.

2. Continue working on the revision of the African democracy paper.

3. While waiting for regressions to be run, read Deaton (2009) again to summarize his points on randomized control trials (RCTs) in development economics:

(1) RCTs gives us an unbiased estimate of the average treatment effect due to the fact that the expectation is a linear operator, but it is not informative about other features of the distribution of the treatment effect such as median. (Pages 25-7)

(2) RCTs should be designed to learn not whether a particular project works but why it works, because "projects can rarely be replicated while the mechanism underlying success or failure will often be replicated and transportable" (pages 30-1). See Section 5 for more on this.

(3) Calculation of the standard error of the average treatment effect is not straightforward if the treatment effect is heterogenous, because the variance in the error term will then be different between the treated and the control group. (pages 31-3)

(4) Controlling for covariates to improve the precision of the treatment effect estimate can be hazardous with the presence of heterogeneous treatment effects. (Pages 34-6)

(5) If compliance to the treatment is incomplete, reduced-form evidence (ie. intention-to-treat effect) is more informative than the instrumental variables estimation because the latter yields the local average treatment effect which may not be of interest. (pages 14-20, 36-8)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (28)

1. Continue working on the revision of the African democracy paper. I don't know why this takes this long. I want to finish this and move on to another research project. But it takes long...

2. Lunch with today's job market candidate and my colleagues.

3. Attend a job talk.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (27)

1. Continue working on the revision of the African democracy paper.

2. Lunch with today's job market candidate and my colleagues.

3. Attend a job talk.

4. Read Deaton (2009).

Feel very tired. Sleep early.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (26)

1. Continue working on the revision of the African democracy paper. Each regression takes 3 hours to be done. Write a computer program to run a regression. Wait for three hours. Check the result. Think of what to do next. Write a computer program to run another regression. Wait for three hours. Check the result. Think of what to do next...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Two things about myself

I discovered two things about myself.

Number one. I like reading a text that describes what's going on in very detail. I realized this when I was reading "Collectors" by Raymond Carver. I rarely read a novel in English because I need to look up words in dictionary several times per page (expressions like "lift up" when you are laying on the sofa and "put out his hand" when someone meets up someone else are the kind of English phrases I don't perfectly understand). But this short novel came with a Japanese book on translation from English to Japanese written by Haruki Murakami, who did a lot of translation of English novels for Japanese readers. So I had an opportunity to read it (along with Haruki Murakami's translation into Japanese). And I found myself enjoying reading it when a sentence describes people's movement or landscape in a bit too much detail. I did know this when I read Haruki Murakami's novels in Japanese whose sentences are also too much in detail with tons of adjectives (and most of them are dropped when his novels are translated into English). But I didn't know this would work for English novels until today.

Number two. I like watching a video with good sound that is rather difficult to understand. Today I went out to the area around Industricentralen, a former residential building for factory workers located in north-western Stockholm (off the beaten track for tourists), which now houses a cluster of contemporary art galleries. I needed to refresh myself by facing hard-to-understand pieces of contemporary art. More than 90 percent of contemporary art works are rubbish (and they often use rubbish as ingredients, by the way). It's important to visit a cluster of galleries. Then you will encounter at least one not-too-bad piece of art. This time, Galleri Flach+Thulin did a job to me with Twan Janssen's 20-minute video installation entitled "The Stockholm Syndrom". While all the other visitors left within five minutes, I sat down on a chair (provided by the gallery) to watch the film all the way. It's an abstract one created by computer graphics. It just keeps on showing white stuff whose shapes and movements are inspired from clouds, water waves, smokes, and the like. This continues for 20 minutes with abstract music of repetitive kind composed by Jasper TX. It's not too bad at all. Much more enjoyable than normal movies, television programs, or music videos from uninspiring rock and hip hop musicians. I do not watch films or TV, but this is not because I don't like videos as a means of expression. I do like videos that are not easy to understand (like this one that I wrote about before or the one that I saw at the List Visual Arts Center at MIT).

Friday, February 06, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (25)

1. Read Emanuel (1986), a survey of evidence on the impact of a mother's early childhood health on her reproductive performance.

2. Continue working on the revision of the African democracy paper.

3. Talk to my boss about the revision of the African democracy paper in the kitchen. Come to conclude that more substantial revision is required than I initially thought, but my boss says, "Don't overdo it."

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (24)

1. Continue working on the revision of the African democracy paper.

2. Lunch with today's job market candidate and my colleagues.

3. Attend a job talk.

4. Skim Dell, Jones, and Olken (2009). Even within countries in the Americas, hotter areas are poorer.

5. Find a useful Stata ado file called UNIQUE.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (23)

1. Work on the revision of the African democracy paper.

2. Spend the whole afternoon with my colleagues for installing software to get access to the PDC. Windows sucks as we all know.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (22)

1. Continue revising the African democracy paper.

2. Meet a PhD student from Italy who specializes in development economics and will be visiting us until this summer.

3. Skim Pollard (1965) for the labor management project plan, coming to conclude that I should give up this project.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (21)

1. Continue revising the African democracy paper.

2. Lunch with today's job market candidate and my colleagues.

3. Attend a job talk.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Day of an Assistant Professor (20)

1. Work on the revision of the African democracy paper in the late afternoon.