Aspirations and Real Estate Investment in Rural Myanmar — New Working Paper

Aspirations, or future-oriented goals, influence how we make choices in the present. In recent years, development economists have developed a particular interest in the way aspirations influence human behavior. The figure below plots my calculation of the number of published articles that mention “aspirations” cataloged in the EconLit database from 1956 through 2016. These recent…

The Causes and Consequences of Conflict and Violence

Over on the (always excellent) Economics That Really Matters blog I (with Heidi Kaila) recapped all of the papers related to conflict and violence at the 2019 Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) Conference. The recent CSAE conference, an annual conference on the economic development in Africa organized at Oxford included great new conflict…

How to Assess “Economic Significance”

Back in 2015, I read a book by Morten Jerven, in which the author makes the point that over 145 variables have been found to be statistically significant explanatory variables for long-run economic growth. Morten’s point is more nuanced than this, but this suggests that when interpreting regression results we need to not only consider…

My #OxCSAE2019 Recap

Over the past weekend, I was able to attend the 2019 Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) Conference at the University of Oxford. Established in 1096 the University of Oxford is the oldest English-speaking university in the world. Walking around the campus is inspiring, but even more inspiring than that is the work…

Five Myths About Research on Violent Conflict

A forthcoming review article in a special issue of the Journal of Development Economics reviews the economics literature on violent conflict since the review of Blattman and Miguel (2010). If you do research in this area or teach development economics, the entire article is worth a read. Of more broad application, however, is the author’s listing…

My #NEUDC2018 Recap

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the North East Universities Development Consortium (NEUDC) conference. I presented my paper on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries (working paper available here and presentation slides here). It was an excellent conference and a wonderful experience (not least…