Friday, March 11, 2011

Catching Up: Development

I appear to be stuck in La Guardia overnight, so let's see what thoughts are in the big bags tonights...

A remarkably detailed depiction of how one city block developed over several hundred years.

Some excellent thoughts from Moss on the difficulties with the current aid model and where trends are going. My favorite:  “With only a few dozen really poor countries left, and still large pockets of poor people in middle-income countries, the big value in aid will be investing in solutions that have impacts beyond a single country’s borders.  This means investing more in new vaccines, agricultural technology, clean energy, regional infrastructure,  and other things that cannot be done by designing narrow country programs for Mali or Cambodia. “

India is turning to cash handouts to combat the corruption in its in-kind welfare programs. Well, electronic cash that they can access by bank or cellphone, anyway.

“Maybe, just maybe, we are all benevolent autocrat wannabes?” If you’re willing to drop the benevolent part, the list of things to keep in mind is always worth reading.

Rodrik tries to retell an inverted Kuznets curve (a U shape) for agriculture productivity (high in overall low-productivity and high-productivity countries, but lower in the middle as workers leave but before the remaining farmers invest in technology). In fact, he uses Kuznets’ methods: his “within country” U-curve is really three countries strung together, not one of which shows a U. I would think that the panel research on the Kuznets curve itself should provide a good guide for testing this hypothesis as well.

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