Category Archives: Development thinking

Probabilistic AI decision-making

Don’t want to humble-brag (but already right if you think about it what am I doing?) but this was the first hit in my search for a bit more on the question I asked at the end of an interesting … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

Did capitalism reduce global poverty?

You will find that questions being asked, rhetorically, all over the Internet and especially academic Twitter. I think many people conflate “recent small policy change towards market liberalization” with capitalism. What is missing in these discussions is an agreed upon … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

Sad television on situation in Arua, Uganda

No charges, tortured and beaten, and possibly disappeared. Justice in its most elementary form. Listen the the lawyers at about 22:00.

Posted in Development thinking

Great quote from Teju Cole, “Every Day is for the Thief” about markets!

“One goes to the market to participate in the world. As with all things that concern the world, being in the market requires caution. The market – the essence of the city – is always alive with possibility and danger. … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

A most disturbing finding about ethnicity in Kenya

Trickle-Down Ethnic Politics: Drunk and Absent in the Kenya Police Force (1957-1970) Oliver Vanden Eynde, Patrick M. Kuhn and Alexander Moradi  American Economic Journal: Economic Policy Vol. 10, Issue 3 — August 2018 How does ethnic politics affect the state’s … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

My Dad sends me to a Nigerian comedy web site… pretty good!

Posted in Development thinking

Slavery and the slave trade was so complicated… 3 years as slaves in Suriname and then back to the Gold Coast

In May of 1746, slaving captain Christiaan Hagerop illegally captured ten Gold Coast canoe paddlers, seven of whom were free Africans from Elmina and Fante. Hagerop subsequently sailed to Suriname, where he sold the paddlers into slavery. To appease the … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

Climate change may be responsible for die-off of world’s oldest baobab trees

The largest baobabs have largely stood alone, bearing witness to history. Radiocarbon dating shows the oldest of these stout-trunked savannah trees have lived for upwards of 2,500 years, surviving the birth of Jesus, the Renaissance, two world wars, and the … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, was launched into orbit today

“TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, was launched into orbit around the Earth. TESS will spend at least two years scrutinizing the entire sky for exoplanets — planets around other stars — within about 300 light years from here.” The … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

Jill Lepore on Rachel Carson in The New Yorker, March 2018

A fantastic writer paying homage, so gracefully, to a writer of another generation. Lepore uncovers for the modern reader enough about Carson’s life, but mostly about her writings on the sea (as opposed to her more well-known book on DDT) … Continue reading

Posted in Book and film reviews, Development thinking, Reading

Makala, documentary by Emmanuel Gras

Follows a charcoal maker, Kabwita, through several months of arduous physical labor. The Guardian has no idea what to make of it. Great for teaching.

Posted in Book and film reviews, Development thinking

What an unfortunate example to use to explain reverse correlation technique in social psychology

From Brinkman, L., Dotsch, R., & Todorov, A. (In press). Visualising mental representations: A primer on noise-based reverse correlation in social psychology. European Review of Social Psychology. Apparently the researcher don’t know what a Moroccan person looks like, but they … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

Neuroeconomics of limitations of cognitive processing probably where all the action is… “attention” is the byword

From Neuroeconomic theory: Using neuroscience to understand the bounds of rationality by Juan Carrillo and Isabelle Brocas “… research in neurobiology demonstrates that the brain cannot encode all the information contained in a signal. A decision is triggered when “enough” … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

From the IFLA 2017 Trend Report for libraries around the world

We need ubiquitous individual Internet connectivity – but while we work on that problem we need to guarantee that libraries – all of them, every single one – can provide Internet access to those who visit them, so even those … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking, Reading

Dramatic story of struggling to make do in Puerto Rico… slightly undermined

It is a great story and dramatic photo, residents of Charco Abajo (“the puddle underneath”) whose bridge washed away, using a supermarket cart and pulley system to get stuff more easily across the river.  But wait, what is that in … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking

Productivity growth during WWII in the United States, Alex Field version

My colleague Alex Field presented a working paper on productivity growth legacy of WWII.  Robert Gordon has argued that war production led to huge learning by doing that carried over into manufacturing.  Alex strongly disagrees, amassing lots of data suggesting … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking, Teaching macroeconomics, United States

Measuring attitudes towards gender norms, pilot results from Save the Children

In Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire, data on gender attitudes have been used as a discussion point with community members who have volunteered to be Gender Champions – leading their communities in identifying gender disparities and developing their own strategies … Continue reading

Posted in Burkina Faso, Development thinking, Gender

The perfect graph for every undergraduate statistics class, from Financial Times

I object to usage of “trend” to indicate “relationship” (for me “trend” implies over time) but that is just a quibble.  Perfect illustration of importance of visualizing data. PS. Doug Campbell reminded me of importance of a title for the … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking, R statistics

Interesting rhetoric from Rising Academies (part of the private school movement in developing countries), on the WDR2018 report

From Paul Skidmore of Rising Academies: The report strikes a surprisingly cautious note on the potential contribution of private schools. Surprising in part because I had been reliably informed that the World Bank was secretly a vast conspiracy to push … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking, Education effects

Should you read the 2018 World Development Report? Not if you care about libraries and reading books (fiction and picture books)

Public and school libraries and reading books (fiction and picture books) get not a single mention in the 200 page WDR report that proclaims it is “the first ever devoted entirely to education.” The report is full of analysis of … Continue reading

Posted in Development thinking, Education effects, Reading