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Referee Report on a one of the starred readings - Essay Example

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Do is a Development Economist with the World Bank and Phung is with the Vietnam Government’s Statistics Office.
Together, Do…
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Download file to see previous pages mathematical and statistical analysis, the authors explored each of three possible explanations – cohort size, child endowment, or birth plannedness channels – and concluded that birth planning accounted for an extra 0.2 years or two to three months of schooling characteristically enjoyed by children born in auspicious years.
The paper is well written. The authors described, with the use of a professional writing style that is simple and easy to understand, the topic and explained the purpose of the research clearly. They likewise were sufficiently objective in describing the limitations of the study, balancing the implications of the results and raising issues for further scientific investigation, such as the pervasiveness of superstition in influencing parental decisions for child bearing.
Their grasp of Vietnamese culture is, in the absence of this reviewer’s prior knowledge on the subject, quite comprehensive, informational and fascinating. The diagrammatic approach in outlining the Vietnamese zodiac drives home the point that in Eastern cultures, many life-and-death decisions are determined by the stars. This may not sound scientific, but observing the fast economic growth rates and ongoing business successes of the developing Asian economies, it is easy to fall into the trap of questioning the wisdom of human decisions backed by millennia of experience.
Do and Phung attempted to explain in a rational manner what seems like a sophisticated decision-making model based on Vietnamese culture’s reliance on the zodiac and linked this with the finding that large birth cohorts coincided with the auspicious years. They observed that, over the twenty-one years of the sample study, “auspicious” cohorts were schooled for 0.2 years more than the “non-auspicious” cohorts.
Many economic research studies are based on statistics that researchers hope are reliable. The problem is that in most totalitarian governments, such as Vietnam’s, statistics ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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