Category Archives: Issue in the News

Nate Silver and the Voting Rights Act

If you all don’t read Nate Silver, I highly recommend it. He does an excellent job of discussing statistics and discussing how we present statistics to tell stories. His post today on the Voting Rights Act claims made by John Roberts during the Supreme Court hearings is a very good read.

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Poverty Traps–the end?

One of the first chapters we read in Poor Economics this year was about poverty traps. More has been published recently about this phenomenon and in particular, this blog post talks about how the end of poverty traps–or rather the end of a discussion of structural inequality as a problem that is solvable by only the aid community–might lead to an end to aid as we know it. It’s an interesting read and I think a good way to think about wrapping up the semester.

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More on Poor Economics

A lot more Poor Economics in the news these past few weeks.

  1. Mark Rosenzweig on Poor Economics (“Thinking Small: A Review of Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.” Journal of Economic Literature 2012, 50:1, 115–127) (You should be able to get this through the library)
  2. Berk Ozler on Mark on Poor Economics

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Profile of Abhijit Banerjee in the Guardian

I thought this might be of some interest. A profile of one of the economists who authored the book Poor Economics in the Guardian.

Until Poor Economics appeared last year, the debate about aid had been broadly polarised into two positions. On the left was Jeffrey Sachs, arguing that the single biggest factor keeping poor people poor is poverty. If foreign aid can lift them out of the poverty trap long enough to free them from the disease, ignorance and debt that thwart their potential, then pretty soon they will be able to solve their own problems for themselves. On the right, William Easterly argued that the real problem isn’t a poverty trap but aid itself, which creates a dependency culture that keeps the poor poor, and distorts their only real roadmap to prosperity – the free market.

Enjoy!

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How fast is the economy growing?

BC Appelbaum thinks it is growing faster than we knew.

A really smart, short piece here on why we’ve seen job growth, but not GDP growth.

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Freakonomics

There’s been a big debate on economics blogs this week about Freakonomics. I thought I’d share a recent installment. I’ll come back and link to the other pieces of the story a bit later. It just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

I know we haven’t read a lot of the book yet, but things to think about as we move forward.

Don’t forget the Finance Symposium tonight.

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Modeling and predicting coups

So, it appears there was a coup today in Mail. Details are still coming in, but I thought I would point you all to this blog post by Jay Ulfelder. It has a good summary of “collect indicators, model, predict” that shows Mali had a relatively high risk of coup this year.

Enjoy!

Update: More on the coup from Reuters here.

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