Two better ways to improve outcomes of small businesses (in Togo and Nigeria)

Two recent and excellent studies offer some important insights into how best to help improve the outcomes of small business owners in developing countries. Both studies evaluate programs motivated by the perception that the traditional way business skills training programs operate could be improved. (For more on this idea, read McKenzie and Woodruff (2013).) The…

Measuring Hope: A Quantitative Approach – Forthcoming in JDS

I am pleased to report that my paper – written with co-authors Duncan Boughton, Kyan Htoo, Aung Hein, and Ellen Payongayong – “Measuring Hope: A Quantitative Approach with Validation in Rural Myanmar” (working paper version here) is now officially forthcoming in the Journal of Development Studies. Here is the abstract: Development economists are increasingly considering…

An Economist Takes on the Parable of the Good Samaritan

Who will help those in less-fortunate situations when everyone believes that someone else will do the job? This is the question that Ted Bergstrom addresses in a new paper published in the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics entitled: “The Good Samaritan and Traffic on the Road to Jericho“. Bergstrom illustrates his paper with a modern retelling of…

[Book Review] Experimental Conversations – Forthcoming in the AJAE

Randomized control trials (RCTs) have taken development economics, and even the broader discipline of economics, by storm. Whether this is “good” or “bad” or just another methodological “fad” largely depends on one’s perspective on development and empirical science. Timothy Ogden, the Managing Director of NYU’s Financial Access Initiative, has documented a number of these perspectives from not…