So What?

‘Tis the Season to Shop and Review

December 4, 2015  • David Devlin-Foltz

“So What?” – Your Weekly Guide to Advocacy With Impact 

Lovingly selected and lightly snarked by Team APEP: David Devlin-Foltz, Susanna Dilliplane, and Christine Ferris


Shop ‘til who drops? Good question

If you are reading this, you must have survived the stampedes of Black Friday (aka Black Thursday-Sunday). But how did retail workers fare? Those working in the retail biz face some tough challenges, which are often exacerbated by the holiday shopping craze. As part of their Working in America series, our good colleagues at the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program organized a panel titled “Shop ‘til who drops?” to look at some promising business models and policy remedies that can help improve retail jobs.

Goodbye, APR

December ain’t just the Month of Holiday Shopping – it’s prime time for the Annual Performance Review. Cringe. Check out this timely article advocating that “It’s Time to Kill the Performance Review.” According to research on how most performance appraisals work, most everyone ends up being rated as average – rendering the process an “administrative ritual.” We’re not sure the remedy is to swing wildly to the other end of the spectrum: never-ending “bite-size” performance reviews. But we’re on board with companies that are ditching the ol’ APR in search of more meaningful evaluation. Amen.

Replicating results

In our evaluation projects, we don’t often get a chance to address issues of replication and replicability. This is for various reasons, including proprietary restrictions. But we were recently reminded of the importance of replication by this post on the World Bank’s Development Impact blog, highlighting a recent paper on the replicability of economics research – or rather, the lack thereof. Shout-out to 3ie for their efforts to encourage replication of development impact evaluations.


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