[Book Review] Experimental Conversations

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…

[Book Review] Slow Kingdom Coming

Over the past few weeks – in the break between semesters – I’ve been able to find time to read. I’ve read less than I wanted to (of course), but have thoroughly enjoyed each of the books I read. In this post, I will review one of these books, Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice,…

[Book Review] From Aid to Trade: Lessons Learned from Haiti

Haiti is a country that has been almost “NGO’d” to death. In their new book, From Aid to Trade, Daniel Jean-Louis and Jacqueline Klamer (full disclosure: two former colleagues of mine) highlight this issue in a clear and meaningful way. They make the case that even with this vast abundance of NGOs, Haiti as a nation…

[Book Review] The Taste of Many Mountains

I write this as I sit in a coffee shop sipping a cappuccino. The coffee beans were grown in Kenya. They had to be irrigated, harvested, packed into bags, imported, roasted, packaged again, transported, marketed, and brewed. The milk was likely farmed in the United States. It was taken from the cow, pasteurized, homogenized, packaged,…

[Book Review] Africa: Why Economists Get it Wrong

Morten Jerven strikes again! Back by popular demand (or due to a lack of a supply of good economic research about ‘Africa’). In 2000 The Economist ran a cover page with a headline calling Africa a hopeless continent. In the cover article of that issue The Economist asked the question: “Does Africa have some inherent character flaw that keeps it…

Measuring Well-being

Martha Nussbaum, perhaps one of the sharpest thinkers on development, poverty, and inequality, writes a critical yet constructive review of Angus Deaton’s recent book, “The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality“. This review (almost) has it all – from discussing the practical use of GDP as a measure of wellbeing to breaking down…

The Challenges of Simple Problems

Book Review: The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, Nina Munk It is hard to come up with something to say about Nina Munk’s magnificent book that hasn’t already been said. The sincerity of this statement is proven by the fact that those very words have already been said. Due to this reality and…