Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random Acts of Development

Randomization the easy way: Fantasy Development. Pick your projects, players, books and duke it out with your colleagues to see who can develop the greatest development team.

A call to make the World Development Report a Wikipedia project so that all the (internet-connected) world can participate - also known as Development 3.0

Novel microfinance: goats replace money.

Current world population, updated every second.

Taiwan ($34,700/capita) surpasses Japan ($33,800) in PPP but not market exchange rates.
Review of a "pre-economics" book on How an Economy Grows, Libertarian style. Or, if you prefer, the account of the rise of two Indian corporate leaders "in the thick of the sweatiest corporate wrestling matches."
The first digital images of records from Ghana have been published on

NAFTA gives Mexico some advantages (against China) in trading with the US, but needs to do more to take advantage of them. But the former trade minister who negotiated NAFTA "points out that the multiplier effect of exports in Mexico is unusually low. Each export dollar generates only $1.80 at home, compared with $2.30 in Brazil and $3.30 in the United States." Contrary to most trade discussions that argue that developing countries need to focus on building processing plants, the article argues Mexico needs to concentrate on building more of its own inputs so it can gain more from its exports and get access to more markets.

The effect of unconditional cash transfers on London's longest-term homeless. "Of the 13 people who engaged with the scheme, 11 have moved off the streets. ... The outlay averaged £794 ($1,277) per person ... [while] the state spends £26,000 annually on each homeless person in health, police and prison bills."

The difference between quantity education and quality education in Uganda. Private educators are perceived as offering a much better product: 90% of university students were privately educated [students - find the selection bias in that sentence]. The interviewee believes universal education was still a good idea just for getting the culture to believe in universal education and the policy is being followed up with universal secondary education. By way of comparison: building a school in Ethiopia.

Fair Trade Waylaid

Supermarket | United Kingdom
Customer: “Excuse me, where is the tea?”
Me: “Right this way.”
Customer: “Do you have any tea that isn’t fair trade?”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Customer: “Do you have any tea that isn’t fair trade? It’s more expensive!”
Me: “I’m sorry, but I think you are missing the point.”
Customer: “It’s more expensive! That isn’t very fair to me!”

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