January 23rd: 2:30-3:15
I had sent Professor Robinson my final narrative paper, and so the first few minutes were spent mainly discussing the paper and making sure we were both on the same page with what the project has ultimately become. I told her about the concerns Professor Field had raised about the accuracy of remittance data, and much to my relief Professor Robinson reassured me that it was acceptable to use the World Bank data. She had not encountered significant research doubting to efficacy of remittance data, and specifically she mentioned that the World Bank data was reliable because it was calculated through models, and not simply a collection of self-reported numbers from all 200+ countries. The conversation then moved to methodology. After reading the paper and meeting with me, she suggested using a times series analysis version of multivariate regression. She also suggested that the program Stata would be more useful than SPSS, and shared with her slides for when she teaches classes that use Stata. I will also schedule at least one appointment with the CTRL lab to go through an in person tour. I doubt it will take too long to get the hang of, because I know exactly which test I need to be able to run.
I also raised an issue with Professor Robinson that I had been exposed to earlier in the week, the idea that GDP may not be the most accurate indicator for what it is intended to measure. After some discussion we came to the conclusion that while GDP does have significant shortcomings, it is still the most prolific measurement in academia for understanding growth, and so it should be included in my project. The main way we agreed to make up for the short coming of GDP was to add other indicators, specifically ones for inequality, HDI and poverty (I am also going to look into ways of measuring ecological impact, as sustainability is becoming an ever louder voice in the conversations around development). Specific measures for some of these indicators are admittedly less direct than GDP, and can vary according to where they are measured. However as long as I use the same measurements consistently, and therefore effectively hold every country to the same standards for defining things like poverty, then I do not foresee a significant issue.
Moving forward, Professor Robinson has sent me a few reading materials to look through concerning GDP, the powers of statistical methodology and remittances. We agreed to meet again in two weeks, however I am assuming that I will see her next week at one of the workshops. I have also scheduled a meeting with a professor Jennifer Poole. She was recommend to me by my International Development professor during an office hours session last week. Professor Poole is a development economist, and she may be able to provide some insights into my project, (hopefully) specifically on data sets and alternative measurements for my dependent variables.