Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A World of Interesting Incentives

USAID cannot help Haiti develop crops that would compete with US producers.

Haiti weddings are up by a lot since the earthquake. Annan, posting at Blattman, hypothesizes the reason is that the social norms are changing: you don't need to get married in a big church because they were destroyed, and you don't have to have a big house to live in because they're gone too. The costs of marriage are down, so people are practicing monogamy while the getting's good.

The DRC is looking at changing its constitution in the way the president and legislature are elected. One version says the hope is to stamp out corruption. The other side is that the hope is to centralize corruption. But will the congress agree to the shift in corruptive rents?

On how commercial incentives erode social norms (work ethic, the nobility and sacrifice of the public servant, etc.), possible making the situation far worse.

Is the problem that companies can buy their Congressional representatives loyalty, or is it that Congressional representatives are already loyal to their constituents and companies merely give them the clout to follow their political incentives? Yglesias argues that the case isn't very clear regarding ethanol support.

What set of incentives would be necessary for colleges to offer these kinds of courses? (HT: Newmark)
FINAN 141: Introductory money management course. Offers a brief overview of higher-level theories such as relatives you may never have thought to ask for money, state-by-state law into just how far you can fall behind on your rent before being evicted, and getting the most for your old Magic the Gathering cards on eBay.
SPAN 301: Explanation and response to the four questions employers most commonly ask you in Spanish to make sure you weren't lying when you put on a resume that you speak it fluently.

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