“You can’t stand on the beach of the sea of uncertainty with the waves lapping at your ankles.
You have to jump into the sea and stick your head underwater and blow some bubbles.”
- Andrew Gelman
I am an Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales. My research interests lie in the intersection of Bayesian statistics, econometrics and development economics.
I most often do applied econometrics aimed at measuring generalisability and quantifying uncertainty around our knowledge base in development economics and economics more broadly. I focus on Bayesian modelling of treatment effect heterogeneity at multiple levels within data sets and literatures.
You can usually find me on twitter or bsky. I am now also writing occasionally a blog/newsletter/thing where I put my longer-form thoughts about life, the universe, and uncertainty in the social sciences.
My papers are below. If you have a question about the code or data for any published paper please email me at r dot meager at unsw.edu.au
Publications and Accepted Pre-Registrations
"Toward a Taxonomy of Trust for Probabilistic Machine Learning" with Tamara Broderick , Andrew Gelman, Anna L. Smith , and Tian Zheng Science: Advances, Volume 9, Issue 7, February 2023, eabn3999(2023).DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abn3999
"Aggregating Distributional Treatment Effects: A Bayesian Hierarchical Analysis of the Microcredit Literature" The American Economic Review, June 2022 Appendices A-D Here , Full-text Older Version of Aggregating Distributional TEs (2020) Here , Older version Appendix|
"Understanding the Average Impact of Microcredit Expansions: A Bayesian Hierarchical Analysis of Seven Randomized Experiments" The American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, January 2019. Dylan Matthews at Vox.com wrote a great summary of this paper here. (Voxdev piece I wrote explaining this article for a general audience can be found here) (Full-text older version here)
"What are the Effects of Improving Management Practices on Exporting among SMEs in Middle-Income Countries*? A Comparison of Bayesian and Frequentist Impact Evaluation Approaches" with David McKenzie, Leonardo Iacovone, and Darío Rodríguez Pérez Pre-registration accepted at the Journal of Development Economics. https://www.bitss.org/publishing/rr-jde-about/prospective-articles/ ( Revise and Resubmit at Econometrica)
"Competing Lending Platforms, Endogenous Reputation, and Fragility in Microcredit Markets" with Peter Bardsley, The European Economic Review, 2019 (Full-text Older version here)
"Fast robustness quantification with variational Bayes" with Ryan Giordano, Tamara Broderick, Jonathan Huggins and Michael Jordan, 2016 ICML Workshop on #Data4Good: Machine Learning in Social Good Applications, New York, NY
"An Automatic Finite-Sample Robustness Metric: When Can Dropping A Little Data Change Conclusions?" with Ryan Giordano and Tamara Broderick (submitted) Our Zaminfluence R Package is here! Ryan updates it regularly. Email us if you have problems!
"Combining Experimental and Observational Studies in Meta-Analysis: A Mutual Debiasing Approach" with Michael Gechter (Revise and Resubmit at the AEJ: Applied)
"Implementation Matters: Generalizing Treatment Effects in Education" with Noam Angrist
Vitamin A Supplements and Child Mortality: Resolving a Controversy in Meta-analysis (with Witold Wiecek, paper completed but embargoed, draft available by email)
Selected Work In Progress
"A Multifaceted Approach to Poverty Alleviation in Six Countries: A Bayesian Hierarchical Analysis of the Graduation Program" with Andrew Gelman, Dean Karlan, Chris Udry and Witold Wiecek
"Data Transforms Are Models" with Edward Jee
Some Related Things I Have to Say
My advice on how to get into a top econ phd program if you did your undergrad in Australia (I wrote this just after I got into MIT. So far, it seems to hold up.)