Oops I missed a month of Links I Like. I guess grad school started…
You Can’t Feed a Family With G.D.P. This is the best article about the worst part of the US economy right now. Sure the US economy is growing, but the median household income (really all that matters) is falling. Oh yea, that guy, Pikkety, might have had a point…
Do in-kind Transfers Damage Local Markets? The Case of TOMS Shoe Donations in El Salvador Spoiler alert: The title is a bit leading but it seems the answer is probably not. For all you TOMS do-gooders out there, don’t feel too warm and fuzzy, there is little to no evidence of TOMS helping either.
Sorry Hipsters, That Organic Kale is a Genetically Modified Food Yep, GMOs are not bad, generally speaking.
Perverse Payment by Results: Frogs in a Pot and Straitjackets for Obstacle Courses Robert Chambers strait up nipping the Payment by Results (PbR) development fad in the bud.
There was lots to like in the past month. The Economist highlighted some recent studies on the impact of microfinance. The consensus is still: it works, except when it doesn’t.
Cass Sunstein (of Nudge fame) wrote an essay on Albert Hirschman’s thoery of the “hiding hand”. This essay will be the introduction of a new edition of Hirschman’s essential Development Programs Observed.
There have been many excellent blog posts recently about the SAOS study on Fairtrade. (Fair-trade has never worked. Why is everyone so excited now?, Million Dollar Question: Does Fairtrade Work?, and What is Fair to Expect of Fairtrade?)
Arvind Subramanian, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, created an extensive reading list for understanding economic development.
Finally, Owen Barder (of “Development Drums” podcast fame), wrote an excellent blog piece on Google and the Trolley Problem. Basically, that philosophical hypothetical about a speeding trolley and the choice to do nothing and let five people die or take action and kill one person is no longer hypothetical.
All of these links I like, but there are three links I LOVE:
1. Why You Should Root for Nigeria (or Brazil, Mexico, or Ghana
Development economist, Dean Karlan made a quick and dirty formula for who you should root for in the World Cup if you hold strongly to utilitarian principles and global happiness.
2. Sinister Tips for Mission Trips
Bruce Wydick (the guy who did the evaluation on Compassion International’s child sponsorship program) has written a marvelous piece about summer mission trips in the style of C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters. It is a great mix of satire and utmost sincerity. If only every development economist wrote like this…
3. Please Do Not Teach This Woman to Fish
Daniel Altman, professor of economics at New York University, wrote a harsh but clearheaded plea for all those who work with small-scale entrepreneurs in developing countries to rethink their strategy.
Finally, the picture of the month – from 40 Maps that Explain the Middle East I really enjoy these nighttime space images. Check out the light lining the Nile River!
3. 21 of the Greatest Graduation Speeches
Confession: I have a soft spot for semi-intellectual overly existential graduation speeches.
7. Bonus! Info-graphic from an excellent special issue of Science Magazine on the Science of Inequality.
This month’s list of Links I Like will be dedicated to the smashing new development blog, The Campaign for Boring Development. Inspired by Marc F. Bellemare’s piece in Foreign Affairs entitled Development Bloat: How Mission Creep Harms the Poor. (P.S. Marc, if you are reading this, I’ve applied to your program at the U, show me some love!) The goal of CfBD is to bring back the “heretical” idea that the main reason people are poor is because they don’t have enough money.
1. Did you know that the ICC (International Criminal Court)—a court that is designed to uphold the (agreed upon) global standards for human rights—has only indicted African leaders in its 11-year history? What should we think if this? Is the ICC simply doing its job or is this just another atrocity? Africa Attacks the International Criminal Court is a fantastic analysis of the African Union’s flight against the ICC’s “African witch hunts” by the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth published in the New York Review of Books.
I am adding a new element to this blog starting in 2014. On a monthly basis I will be posting a short list of “Links I Like”. These are external links to articles, websites, or anything else that I come across that I deem worth sharing. (I concede this is what Twitter is designed for, but—sadly—we have not yet reached the day when every sensible person I know utilizes a Twitter account.)