Week of April 18, 2016

1. (American) Household Finance: The new issue of the Atlantic is all about Americans' finances. Some choice bits: Derek Thompson on why Americans (and many others) stopped saving; Bethany McLean on what comes after payday lending; and Neal Gabler on how he came to be one of the many American households who cannot come up with $400 for an emergency. And while we're at it, Esquire talks to 4 men with very different incomes about spending, saving and taxes.

2. (Healthcare) Household Finance: A new paper looks at how the Affordable Care Act has affected household finances and finds that access to insurance through Medicaid expansion reduced debt and collections for the poorest households. NBER

3. Theory: Theory plays an important role even in empirical economics. Annette Brown argues for getting theory back into theories of change at 3ie. Markus Goldstein summarizes a new paper from Banerjee, Chassang and Snowberg on the theory of when a policymaker should conduct randomized trials (it's not "always").

4. What Works: Surprise! It's Child Sponsorship. Glewwe, Rutledge and Wydick evaluate the international charity program that everyone loves to hate but more Americans give to than any other. They find that being sponsored increases years of schooling and adult income (and some other measures, but, of course, not for everyone or everywhere). The channel? Probably raising aspirations. Development Talk

5. Migration: You may have noticed that I care about migration. New this week: a piece I wrote for Alliance Magazine on migration as the mother of all anti-poverty strategies. Matt Colin defends a Branko Milanovic proposal to overcome objections to migration by limiting the rights of migrants. The Hamilton Project has 10 facts about immigration. Meanwhile, 500 migrants drowned this week trying to cross from Libya to Italy. 

Video of the Week: Absolutely nothing to do with finance, just cous cous, but very cool.  Hat Tip to Chris Blattman.


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