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…

The Cardinal Treatment of Ordinal Variables

Last weekend, I came across a paper published in the European Economic Review by Carsten Schroder and Shlomo Yitzhaki entitled “Revising the Evidence for Cardinal Treatment of Ordinal Variables” (2017). I found the paper to be well-written, intuitive, and important. Although there are no direct policy implications of this paper, papers like these need to be…

Hope as a “Gustibus Multiplier” in Development Economics

What is a “Gustibus Multiplier”? That is what I thought when I read the title of Michael Carter’s recent paper in Agricultural Economics entitled, “What farmers want: the ‘gustibus multiplier’ and other behavioral insights on agricultural development“. It turns out, De gustibus non est disputandum is a Latin phrase meaning “In matters of taste, there can be no…

Machine Learning in Economics… A Fad?

Over the holiday weekend (in the United States) The Economist ran an article with the title: “Economists are Prone to Fads, and the Latest is Machine Learning“. As I am currently taking a class on ‘Big Data for Economists’, this article peaked my interest. The following chart was shown to visualize some recent trends within…