In praise of hard copies

Having done some research in Mongolia back in the 1990s on the effects of the large-scale privatization program (e.g., here and here), I have been eager to revisit some key questions: whatever happened to those firms? Some are still around, but many are not. Given the prominent place held by the privatization program in Mongolia’s early reforms, and similarly for many other countries, a retrospective seemed due.  Should be fun and easy, right?PR binder

I’ve been through about a dozen computers since then.  Our data entry was done on 286 and 386SX machines with 20 and 40 MB hard drive, respectively.  (I know I show my age by expecting readers to know what that means.)  Although I backed up the old WordPerfect and Quattro Pro files to CDs, I have also had many household moves, including five international; you guessed it, the CD has gone missing.

PR binder-2I haven’t given up on the CD—there’s always somewhere else to look—but my spirits picked up when I found a binder I had made with printouts of the key data, lists of firms, programs, variable definitions, etc.  My dissertation was at stake, and risk aversion was high. Looking back, I am glad for that risk aversion.

Old fashioned hard copies save the day.  Which reminds me: a decade of digital photographs are at risk…

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