It's a busy time of year: this week I'm prepping for a day-long comprehensive exam that covers the core classes at the Woodrow Wilson School, with sections on politics, economics, statistics, and psychology. Next week I'll be starting my actual final exams. And on June 1st I travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where I'll be working through January 2013. (More on that soon, once I figure out how much - if at all - I'll be blogging about my internship there.) So expect few new posts, other than a couple that are already queued up. In the meantime, here are two papers that I have not yet read but that should both prompt a lot of discussion amongst health and development folks:

Gabriel Demombynes and Sofia Karina Trommlerova, in the World Bank's Kenya office: "What has driven the decline of infant mortality in Kenya?" And here's a discussion of the paper by Michael Clemens at the CGD blog: "Africa’s Child Health Miracle: The Biggest, Best Story in Development." Clemens and Demombynes previously coauthored some excellent work criticizing the Millennium Development Villages' evaluation efforts.

And speaking of the Millennium Villages, Jeff Sachs writes in the Huffington Post: "Breakthroughs in Health in the Millennium Villages." He's highlighting a new study in the Lancet by Sachs, Paul Pronyk, and a number of other authors with this long title: "The effect of an integrated multisector model for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and improving child survival in rural sub-Saharan Africa: a non-randomised controlled assessment."

No time to read these now, but I imagine they will paint very different pictures of what is going on with child health in Africa, using different methodologies, and offer contrasting solutions -- I'm looking forward to reading them in the weeks to come and seeing if either paper moves my priors.